LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. Chap. Copyright No. ,¥-4- VP A- UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. REV, J. K. PECK, A.M. LUTHER PECK AND HIS FIVE SONS REV. J. K. PECK, A.M. Author of "Seven Wonders of the New World" Copyright by EATON & MAINS, 1897. CONTENTS. Introduction, - CHAPTER I. The First Luther Peck, - CHAPTER II. Rev. Luther H. Peck, CHAPTER III. Rev. George Peck, D.D., - CHAPTER IV. Rev. Andrew Peck, - CHAPTER V. Rev. William Peck, - CHAPTER VI. Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D., PAGE. - 5 9 - 48 89 - 140 161 - 178 Appendix A, Appendix B, - Appendix C, 221 233 236 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. Rev. J. K. Peck, A.M., - Mrs. Annis Collar Peck, Luther Peck, Rev. Luther H. Peck, Rev. George Peck, D.D., Rev. Andrew Peck, - Rev. William Peck, Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D., Frontispiece ■ - Facing; 5 Facing 9 - Facing 48' Facing 89 * - Facing 140 Facing 161 - Facing 178' INTRODUCTION. ADIES and gentlemen, the hour is now six 4 A. M., November 24, Anno Domini one thou- sand eight hundred and ninety-four, and I rise to remark that I have a story to tell, a narrative to unfold, a poem in prose to recite, an epic in five chapters, a drama in five acts, a century and a quarter long. There never was such another story, and there never will be again. I have the whole marvelous play in my mind, and if this right hand does not forget her cunning and this heart does not cease to throb before I have completed my reci- tation, this world will get a view of scenes whereat both ears shall tingle and the galleries shall ring with plaudits ; and when the curtain shall go down and the chorus has come to its rest then the world will sigh for a repetition, but it will sigh in vain. " This story shall the good man teach his son." The five brothers have made their history and gone to their final account, and I am startled with the vastness of the pressing weight that settles down upon me, weary and exhausted with a life- work, while the task seems to devolve upon me to 6 Introduction. commit to paper the details of such revolutions as those five brothers put their shoulders under. I knew them all, and was personally acquainted with their faithful father and mother, and I am the only living person who has preached in the pulpits where each one of the five has preached. I have seen the five generations, the father and mother of the five brothers, their five sons, a score of grand- children, several great-grandchildren, and a half a dozen great-great-grandchildren ; some of these last are of full age. The five brothers were all born in the same latitude and longitude, and all but one in the same State and town, lived and labored and preached in the same territory, and breathed their last members of the same church, elders in the same church, in the bounds of the old Genesee Conference. They lived to be over threescore and ten, each of them. They were always good friends, and remained so until they went to the other world. They all retained their reason until the last. They were all large men, and weighed ten hundred pounds. I never read of five such broth- ers, and I never shall. I shrink from writing another book, and felt sure that I never would until forty-eight hours ago. To-day the clouds obscure the sun. The foliage of the trees has died, and the autumn winds have swept the grapevine bare. The chrysanthemums Introduction. 7 have yielded to the biting frosts and the singing birds are gone, and I write, prompted by no man, woman, or child, under a roof whose tiles my own hands laid sixteen months ago ; and I pray the eternal Spirit to guide my thoughts and make my hand steady while I alone portray these marvelous mundane happenings. I ask no wonderful embel- lishing power to write fiction, for there will not be a line of fiction in this story. The realities have already strode under the sun, and the heroes have fought their battle and taken their crowns, and the world quakes under the grand march of empires. The people rule, and the great Sovereign reigns over all. LUTHER PECK. CHAPTER I. The First Luther Peck* LET me take off my hat and make my best bow and introduce the reader to Luther Peck — the first Luther Peck in the world's history, named after the sturdy Protestant who shook the nations and dashed the Romish yoke from his neck. The subject of this chapter was born in Danbury, Conn., on Friday, June 12, 1767, not in the United States, for there was no United States — indeed, there were no States. Luther Peck was before the United States, before the Constitution, before the immor- tal Declaration of Independence, before Lexington or Bunker Hill, before the national banner was flung to the breeze. His father's name was Jesse Peck, and his mother's maiden name was Ruth Hoyt. His grandfather's name was Eliphalet Peck, and his grandmother's name was Rebecca. The Hoyts of Tioga County, N. Y., were near relatives of Ruth Hoyt, and one was a brother. He was quite old in the year 1856, was justice of the peace and postmaster in the town where I preached early in my ministry, and all the Hoyts were among the best citizens of the place. They were enterprising and honest business men. One of them is to-day 10 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. supervisor of the town of Tioga. The Hoyts of this old town of Kingston are sprung from the same Connecticut family. They were among the pio- neers of Wyoming Valley, proud sons and daugh- ters of the soil, and hold their place to-day among the best, and I write these lines surrounded by their fine dwellings and comfortable homes ; I meet them every day. One is a member of the town council and a president of that body, and Henry M. Hoyt was a student in Wyoming Seminary and afterward an instructor in the school, and was in the late civil war and rose to be a general and gov- ernor of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In our young days he did not know that the Hoyt blood mingled in my veins, though we sat side by side in class. He died without knowing it, and I did not know it until his decease. Any of us would rather have a good thirty-second cousin than a bad one. Blood will tell through many genera- tions. Luther Peck, the first, was the subject of his royal highness King George III, and as we learned in our early school days, " George rex, George the King.' 5 When thirteen years of age he was thrilled by the eloquence of John Adams and Patrick Henry. He heard the strains of " Yankee Doodle" in place of " God Save the King." He caught the strains and soon learned to whistle them, and then soon learned to produce the notes from the shrill fife, and this, with the flute, was his musical instrument for threescore years. His old flute lies before me as I write, and the music has gone out of it and his deft fingers have long lain still. The First Luther Peck. 11 He passed his boyish days in the " times that tried men's souls," and they tried boys' souls. His father died in Washington's army, a volunteer sol- dier for his country, and Ruth Hoyt was left a widow with ten children, seven sons and three daughters, and he the youngest of the sons. It was work or starve. The widow rocked the cradle with one foot and turned the linen wheel with the other and spun with her hands in the log cabin, and every one of those children was schooled in hard industry as soon as they came to working age. The dark day came in May, 1780, and the children cried for protection and the heart of that noble woman quailed not. The boys carried burdens that the father had laid aside. This one, the youngest boy, Luther, was " bound out " for a term of years, or until he should become of age, to work every week day for the summer and the winter, not for his father, but for another man. The mother was no more to set a plate or bowl for him, except on one of his visits home on an occasional Sunday. On those days he could practice on his fife and flute and rest ; but Monday morning brought the very hard work at the forge and a very frugal meal, very blue milk maybe, and the hard crumbs of corn bread, and the crumbs as few as possible. The music of the six days was the sound of the hammer and sledge upon the anvil, the puffing of the bel- lows, and the prancing of unruly horses and colts, which were awfully nervous when nails were driven into their feet. These exciting scenes kept up the boy's spirits for a few years ; but the meager spread on the table made him homesick, and no wonder. 12 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. It is a universal complaint on such occasions. I know of what I speak. We are not the least as- tonished to learn that the young man was anxious for his twenty-first birthday to hurry up. He could not leave the forge for fifteen minutes to as- sist a certain neighbor's girl to drag a stick of wood through the snow, though he longed very much to lend a helping hand. Her mother was a soldier's widow as well as was his, and her young hands dragged the wood to the little cabin to keep the frost from the hearthstone while her mother was struggling to keep the wolf from the cabin, with the wail of a sickly infant sounding a dirge con- tinually in her weary ears. The child brother of the young girl could not help crying, and so the hours went by. The only house organ was the mewling, sickly infant brother, and between those minor notes the buzz of the spinning wheel and the crackling of the fire on the hearth. The girl was coming to womanhood and wondering if ever the time would come when life would be worth liv- ing, hoping, yes, believing, that better days would come. Here a romance commences. The scene is the country town of Danbury, Conn. Luther Peck offers to bind himself by in- denture to pay his master one hundred dollars in cash for his freedom from that day on. The man hesitates and consults his frugal wife, and finally accepts the offer and the papers are passed, signed, sealed, and delivered. The glad tidings of this emancipation found way into the widowed moth- er's humble home and made her heart much lighter, and made several brothers' and sisters' faces glow The First Luther Peck. 13 with joy, and the story was not long in traveling with hurried feet into the cottage where the young lady friend gathered new hope for the future, a future which had risen up before her with a hag- gard front. That early spring was a little sweeter than the one of a year ago. The bluebirds sang a little sweeter than before, the sickly infant cried less frequently. The war was over, and the tired soldiers who survived the struggle for an independ- ent country and had survived the terrible small- pox came tramping home with blistered feet, and the mother of Luther Peck and the mother of An- nis Collar, both widowed, shed their tears of sym- pathy as they reflected that their husbands had gone to honored graves and their country was free. Annis Collar could now have two strong arms to help her in gathering wood for the fireplace, and Luther Peck, the young blacksmith, could play more tunes on his fife than he could before he had become freed from his master, and the sickly little child could be soothed to its slumbers by the wild martial music of the friend and lover of sweet sister Annis. These two young friends, after the child and the weary mother had quieted down to their slumbers, told each other in whispered sentences their hopes and trusted to one another their secrets as the fire blazed on the humble hearth. The boy became a man, a freeman, and w r ork ac- cumulated and was not turned away. The one hundred dollars must be paid. He had a shop on a convenient spot for the people of the town and surrounding country ; maybe a plot was rent free, 14 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. or maybe the shop stood in the street, no matter which ; he had a forge, an anvil, tongs, a bellows, and other tools, some of them contributed by neighbors and friends, some borrowed, some bought on trust, and others made by himself. The money in circulation was worth very little, and there was very little of it. Luther Peck shod horses, made log chains and fire shovels, sharpened harrow teeth, ironed whiffletrees and ox yokes, shod sleds and set wagon tires, hooped tubs and pails, forged sawmill irons, and made nails to fasten weather- boards on houses and shops and sheds. He made pickaxes and grub hoes and crowbars for the peo- ple to dig wells and graves, and made the horse- shoes, hundreds of them, that brought good luck and filled the sack with meal and paid off the hun- dred dollar mortgage on his muscles. The young lady at the widow's home had already learned to spin yarn out of flax, tow, and wool, and was now knitting and weaving to be ready for her prospec- tive bridal day, selling the surplus to the neigh- bors for barley or corn or potatoes for her loved mother's use in the log cabin. The fife was tuned up occasionally in two humble homes in old Dan- bury. The two young people had commenced a fight for life and fortune, and, whether it was a hard fight or a walk-over, there was to be no cry to halt until success was achieved or the weary hands were still in death. The interesting day for the social event came, the fire was raked up on the forge, the bellows ceased to blow T , and the wheel was unbanded in the bride's home. The two walked to the minister's home and were married, The First Luther Peck. IS September 27, 1787. The officiating clergyman was Joseph Peck, and, being a relative, he did not exact a large fee, if indeed he exacted any — it was all in the family. The bridal dress was all wool and the cloth and the dress were made by the bride's mother, assisted by the bride herself. If there was a wedding ring it was not gold, and if there was a wedding cake it was a johnnycake made of corn meal mixed with water and a little salt ; neverthe- less it was sufficient, and, though baked before the open fireplace, it was warm and rich and filled the bill. When the two left the parsonage and entered the bride's home the bounteous meal was smoking on the board. The coffee was roasted corn with milk, but no sugar. The wedding march was the march home from the parsonage, and if there was instrumental music it was made on the fife. The infare may have been accompanied by tin pans, probably not, and no one living knows for certain. One thing is certain, that in that very year the Constitution of the United States was formed and adopted, and two years later George Washington became President. The young man was born the year after Barbara Heck burned the pack of playing cards and Philip Embury organized the first Methodist society on the soil of the new continent, composed of five persons, and that society was not known to him nor to his young wife even after they were joined in holy matrimony. The fourteen years preceding the eventful year of 1787 had resulted in the ex- panding of that little society to a Church of twenty- two thousand members and one hundred and thirty 16 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. ministers. About this year Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury were chosen bishops over the soci- eties North and South and West. This couple called upon a Presbyterian clergyman for his aid, knowing no other in the town. There was no bridal tour to Saratoga or Niagara or Long Branch. The great, wonderful cataract probably they never saw, and never regretted that they could not see it. Their honeymoon was passed at their home, and it was a sweet home and that honeymoon had never an eclipse. Their days were working days, and if they had a day off it was filled up in doing kind deeds and lending a helping hand to friends and relatives. They never were afflicted with witches, and never went to the hang- ings of any. They could not spare the time or money. The United States money came to be worth more as the years passed, but it was very scarce. They paid off the apprenticeship mortgage by hard work and rigid economy, and even then they did not celebrate the event by a vacation, but thanked God and took courage. When six years of wedded life had passed Luther Peck's home had been brightened by the coming of three sweet daughters, bright angels of the fireside, every one of them greeted with joy, for their music and smiles were to make the days brighter for the years to come. Two more years and a son was born. He was cherished and loved by the father and mother and carried in the arms of those sisters while the mother was turning the wheel of fortune and the father was tugging at the feet of all kinds of horses, wild, tame, and stubborn. The new boy The First Luther Peck. 17 was called Luther Hoyt Peck, so that he could carry the cognomens of his father and his grand- mother. They gave these three girls and the in- fant boy in baptism even before the father's heart was given to the Lord. The mother was prayerful in secret, and every day felt herself buoyed up by an Almighty arm. A year later this happy and hard-working couple took their journey one hun- dred miles west into the wilderness of the State of New York, and took their four children with them. They passed over Putnam, Dutchess, Columbia, Greene, Schoharie Counties, and settled in the town of Middlefield, Otsego County, then a wilderness almost trackless, built a log house and moved into it, lived in it, and worked in it. They had ventilation and plenty of fresh air. They had fresh water, and plenty of it. They had swings out of doors and merry-go-rounds and seesaws that were constructed by the girls themselves. They rode horseback on pretend horses made of small trees bent down. They sang solos and choruses, they heard bird songs, not from the canaries in cages, but little wild birds in the tree tops. They gathered leaves and flowers in the wild forest and wild berries, and ate them from the bushes and chased the timid hare and swift-footed squirrel away from the cottage door and fed crumbs to the robin in spring and the snowbird in winter. "The smith's hammer was heard upon the anvil " and the wheel of fortune spun on every week day, and at long intervals the fife was summoned to echo the chirp of the blue- jay or the whippoorwill or the hoot of the great night owl or the drumming of the partridge. In 2 18 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. fact, the family had a picnic the year round. The children could run with bare feet around the house and out of doors without having the finger of scorn pointed at them. The older girls could hide their feet in the brown leaves when the mail carrier passed or when the neighbor or stranger came to the shop for his iron wedge and beetle for splitting rails. Happy father, faithful mother, loving chil- dren. The proud denizens of the great cities would give hundreds to have a week of such refreshing joy as they had for months together. The land was theirs, the trees were theirs, the birds and little wild animals were theirs. The house and shop were theirs, and the stairs which led to the upper chamber were theirs, and the circle of the sun and the pale stars were theirs, and the brook with the tiny fish. There a second son came upon the stage of action, and was named George. Whether he was named for King George is not known. Certainly it is not known to the writer of these lines. If he had been named for Washington it would seem that he would have carried the W„ but that W. never appeared in his name that ever I knew ; so I am left to infer that he was named after the king. There were few George Pecks in the vast catalogue numbering hundreds, and while his father was the first Luther he was almost the first George. There were a great many Jacob Pecks and Simons and Simeons, Matthews, Marks, Lukes, and Johns, Jobs, Jonathans ; in fact, every name in the whole Bible has been attached to some one of the vast army of Pecks, every name except Ju- das Iscariot, and none of them was ever heard to The First Luther Peck. 19 express regrets that Judas was left out of the family ; and no wonder, for the traitors in the family are few and far between, and I have not wondered that there are so many preachers in the list, especially since I have seen that they carry the whole cate- gory of Bible names on their family tree. And this family of eleven had a Rachel and a Martha, and we recognize in the genealogical line Rebecca and a hundred Marys, Lois, Lydia, Esther, Sarah, Anna, and so on. The records of the sojourn of Luther Peck and his family in the wilderness of Middlefield, in their first log residence, are quite meager, but they are sufficient for our purposes. They had a family Bible and a family record be- tween the lids. The children built houses out of sticks and little stones, played church and school. The girls wove red berries into their hair, and made for their necks strings of beads from the matured buds from wild rose bushes ; made fans out of the hemlock boughs taken from the little trees and other fans from the larger leaves of the burdock, and made baskets out of the burs. They played fox and geese with ker- nels of corn, with a red kernel for the fox. The cat's cradle was constructed out of strings stretched on their fingers. The winter evenings were made bright by such games as hide and seek and pussy wants a corner and telling stories of Red Riding Hood or reciting old Mother Hubbard's trouble with her dog. Amid such scenes and surroundings George Peck was born. As the traveler takes his way from the village of Cherry Valley toward Cooperstown he will soon pass the birthplace, a 20 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. little to the left of the turnpike, two miles east of Middlefield Center. Now these country girls have another little brother to care for and to occupy a place in their circle. But a sojourn in this roman- tic spot so dear to the children must be of short duration. The family is a movable family, and the children are all itinerants. Their first move was one hundred miles toward the Northwest in a straight line, but a good many more miles than that by any road they could then travel. This next move was to be only two miles. So, selling their land, house, and shop, they packed up their goods and chattels and went to Middlefield Center. The house had already been built on the knoll at the right of the turnpike and several rods from it. The plot was a triangle, with its eastern corner at the place where the schoolhouse now stands, and where it has stood for nearly ninety years. The northern corner was where the great elm tree now stands and has stood since the family moved there. The south corner is where the present line fence makes a corner with the road line, a hundred feet or so from the foot of the little hill which is de- scended as soon as one passes the schoolhouse on the way to Cooperstown. Eight years ago, or in the summer of 1886, I walked over and around that triangular farm and stood under the spreading arms of that ancient elm and walked around the school-house. I approached the ancient well almost breathlessly and asked my friend, " Is this really the Luther Peck well ? " and he responded promptly, " It certainly is." I looked down into its depths for several seconds and grasped an apple The First Luther Peck. 21 that hung on a limb that reached out over the well, so that the apple would have fallen into the water if it had been shaken from the tree. There had hung the old oaken bucket, the ironbound bucket that had made its hourly trips into the deep shaft and as often returned laden with the cool beverage, and I knew that the ironbound bucket was bound by the bands that Grandfather Peck made, and I knew further that all the sons and daughters of Lu- ther Peck had seen their faces reflected from the surface of that natural mirror in its stone frame and that they all had slaked their thirst from its healthful waters ; and I knew further that every itinerant minister that had traveled along that old turnpike for seventeen years had drank water from that well. There Freeborn Garrettson, Jonathan Newman, David Dunham, Matthew Van Dusen, Benomi Harris, the odd and strange, short and loud-voiced ; Benjamin Bidlack, the warrior ; Asa Cummings, Seth Mattison, and a great many oth- ers, had drank from that well and gone. The silent face of the water could not speak to me, and it told no story. Rachel had met her lover often at this well, and so had Martha. Father White and Loren Grant had drank there, the former the spiritual father of nearly all the family, and the latter a very near friend of all the children. On this little three- cornered farm, in the home where love reigned su- preme, were born Andrew Peck, William Peck, and Jesse Truesdell Peck. Andrew, April 29, 1800, the first born in the nineteenth century ; William, De- cember 7, 1802 ; and Jesse T., April 4, 181 1 ; Mary, Anna, and Susanna were also born here. 22 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. This historic spot is only an hour's walk from the place where the Deerslayer rested at the outlet of Otsego Lake and the source of the immortal Sus- quehanna River, rendered famous by the versatile writer, Fenimore Cooper. There nearly all the sons and daughters were converted, certainly all that were old enough. Here the older Connecticut girls, who came more than a hundred miles into the New York forest, who ran in the woods and covered their bare feet with leaves and rode pre- tend horses, were both led to the altar as blushing brides. Here was the place where all kneeled on the bare floor in daily prayer at the family altar. Here Luther Hoyt Peck learned to turn the lucky horseshoe under the instruction of his father. Here he learned to play the fife and the other brothers learned to beat the double roll on the drum. Then the drum corps became one of the institutions of the town. This was the first band of music organized in Otsego County, and when the militia had their annual parades and were in- spected by the brigade inspector the blacksmith's sons were on hand at roll call to march at the head of the brigade and make music for the whole regi- ment and for all the children in- the range of hear- ing. The Peck boys could wake up the sleepiest man or the sleepiest child in the whole town, and " when the drum beat at dead of night " people knew where to locate the blame. On this spot the boys commenced their literary labors with much reluctance and with diverse urgings and compel- lings. When the boy played sick he was nursed and doctored by the mother until the other children The First Luther Peck. 23 had gone to school, then he became better, and if the disease was, after a thorough diagnosis, dis- covered to be a sudden attack of schoolphobia the next attack was cured in time for the school hour. Luther Hoyt Peck was so fully employed in his father's shop that his school days were quite lim- ited, yet with persistent effort he mastered the alpha- bet and spelling sufficiently to read slowly, and he attacked the arithmetic and tugged along as far as pounds, shillings, and pence. He could write a legible hand, spell the words quite correctly, gen- erally. I put these few items in here because they refer to transactions prior to their coming to years of manhood. One day Luther Hoyt was in the schoolroom trying hard to solve some arithmetical proposition during the recess ; he heard a call, " Peck, come out and I will lay you on your back ; come out and I will throw you. O, you daresn't ! " The challenge was more than his blood could stand, and, knowing that he had held the hind feet of horses whose weight was near half a ton, he went out and was not long in making up a match. The boys were looking on, expecting to see some fun. They had not long to wait; Hoyt's left arm was soon around the boastful champion's neck. " Say when you are ready." " Yes, all ready," and in less than a breath the champion was pulling himself up from the frozen ground with damaged shoulder and elbow, ribs, back, and a more dam- aged reputation, while Peck went into the school- room to finish his "sum." History records the fact that Luther Peck was 24 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. for many years a class leader, and distinguished for the zeal and fidelity with which he discharged his duties and the interest which he took in the cause of Christianity, and that he and his wife and children composed a remarkable family. It would be difficult to say in this year of our Lord, with the facts of the domestic circle and all the other facts in my mind, what constituted the remarkable- ness of the head of the family. He was an honest man, so everybody said who knew him. He was an industrious man, hard-working and economical. All this can be said of a great many men the world over. He was not cross-eyed or crossgrained. He was remarkable for being like other men, and not being peculiar. He did not walk in his sleep nor study the stars nights. He was not like the learned blacksmith, yet he was a blacksmith. He never spent time trying to invent perpetual motion. He had his hair cut like other men of his time. He did not sleep in the daytime and work nights. He never walked a rope across Niagara Falls nor tamed lions nor charmed rattlesnakes. He was not an Edison nor a Blondin. He never hunted the North Pole nor plowed the seashore nor sowed salt. He never would have been a success in a dime mu- seum or a circus or a side show or a minstrel show, and he was remarkable for never trying to be re- markable. He never tried to work a horse and an ox yoked together. He ate what was proper to eat, if he could get it, and drank as other men did. Indeed, he was a remarkable man, and remarkably like other men. He was a Vulcan, but did not try to forge thunderbolts. He was a real Vulcan, and The First Luther Peck. 25 not a mythological one. He visited the haunts of Leather Stocking, and took his two oldest sons with him ; but it was not to see the Indian, but to see a murderer hung. A minister preached a ser- mon personally to the criminal while the rope was tied around his neck. The text was, " This day shalt thou be with me in paradise/' After he had proved to the condemned man that the text was true in his case, lo and behold, the fellow was not hanged, for the governor had sent a pardon in time to save him. The crowd captured a dog and hung him in order to have a hanging. George Peck and his older brother and their kind-hearted father looked on but did not help. They could look into the face of beautiful Otsego Lake, which lay smiling at their feet. A brief look was sufficient, and, without a glance at the Indian's home, they went to their home. This is the only vacation of the family on record for thirty years or more. That three-cornered lot was the scene of hard work and economy for many years. The scenes where the red men in Leather Stocking tales, immortalized by Cooper, played their part in life's drama lay three miles west of this three-cor- nered lot. Cherry Valley, where Joseph Brant and his followers had spread terror and death and deso- lation, lay about the same distance east ; so the family of the faithful class leader lived and labored in historic times and also in historic places. The father was not present at the execution of Major John Andre, though he was only twenty-five miles away and fourteen years of age. And he was not at the Boston tea party, though he was six years 26 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. old when it occurred. Probably he was not in- vited, and his whole life was spent where his du- ties were, and he very seldom left his own humble home in search of pleasure or sensation. A re- markably common, everyday man. THE VILLAGE BLACKSMITH. " Week in, week out, from morn till night You can hear the bellows blow ; You can hear him swing his heavy sledge With measured beat and low. u And children coming home from school Look in at the open door ; They love to see the flaming forge And hear the bellows roar, And catch the burning sparks that fly Like chaff from a threshing-floor." He was more interested in his leather apron than in Leather Stocking. Day after day the hammer smote the iron, striking when the iron was hot ; and when his meal was ready he would lay off his apron and greet his large family of happy children at the table, ask the blessing of the bounteous Father upon them, partake of the meal, and return to his work. There was never a horseshoe hung over the door in his house, for the reason that he had not learned the modern art of bringing good luck. He would play upon his fife " Bonaparte's March " and " Bonaparte Crossing the Alps/' as well as " Yankee Doodle/' because of the music in the tunes, and be- cause the French general, Lafayette, came to the assistance of Washington in those dark days which he could well remember. He forged the irons that were driven into the jams of the fireplace, and The First Luther Peck. 27 made the crane that was hung in them and the hooks to hang the kettle on and the bail of the kettle. All the kettles of those days came from the store or the furnace without bails, and the vil- lage blacksmith was mustered in to bail them. The brass kettles had to be hooped as well as bailed, and the work was skillfully done because he had learned the trade. The hoop was made to fit the kettle at its upper rim. Two ears were made, one on each side of the hoop, and the hoop welded just large enough to be easily pushed nearly to the top of the brass vessel, and it was put to its proper place a little warm, or maybe hot. Then it would cool and become perfectly tight. Then the edge of the brass would be hammered neatly down over the hoop. The bail was forged and filed smooth and attached to the ears, and the kettle was ready for use. Several years ago one of the sons of Lu- ther Peck wrote to me, describing the house, shop, and little farm, and wound up his letter in this way : " We shod all the horses between Coopers- town and Cherry Valley and the surrounding coun- try. There we lived and worked and were con- verted and flourished and made a fortune/' They built a frame house to supersede the log one, plac- ing it down nearer the highway than the old one had been, and from the rafters of that incompleted house George came near falling and losing his life, having been made dizzy by the drink which the carpenters were using daily in small quantities. George had not yet learned the difference between that beverage and the fluid which the moss-cov- ered bucket brought up from the well. 28 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. The boys loved the woods, and one Sunday George and a younger brother tried their hands at running away, and succeeded first-rate until a forest tree, broken by the winds of heaven, came crashing down upon them, and as they pulled themselves out from the brush and leaves they were sadder and much wiser and very much frightened. They had not learned that the forest was loaded. But what of the mother during these days and scenes ? She could hear the reveille from her drummer boys without alarm, and was proud of their growing skill in martial music ; yet she was anxious about them. The new house was finally finished as fully as they were able to finish it, and several pairs of willing hands were employed in transferring the furniture to the new house. The fire shovel, the crane and hooks, all made by the skill of the father, the chairs and table, the trundle- bed and cradle and the homemade splint broom, the brass kettle and the dishes for the table and knives and forks were moved ; the carving knife made at the forge, and tempered like a razor and almost as sharp. The girls transferred their ward- robe to the new chamber without the trouble of going up stairs, for the ground was such that the path from the old house led past the well and into the chamber door in the rear of the new house. The living room was below and nearly on a level with the highway. The schoolhouse, just up the hill, east, became the parsonage by boards being laid for a floor overhead, where the minister and his wife could sleep, and the minister's wife was the school-teacher. Luther Peck was a friend to The First Luther Peck. 29 education, and even before New York State had a school law they managed to have a school in Mid- dlefield, and the schoolhouse was moved twice, drawn by several yoke of oxen. The village black- smith made the strong iron chains that were fas- tened to each corner of the east end of the build- ing. It was drawn from its place down the turn- pike, up past the Peck residence, up the hill, and finally settled on the east corner of the mechanic's lot. There was wonderful power in those dozen yoke of oxen. The staples and rings of the yokes were forged in the shop nearby, and there was strength enough in the combination to pull the schoolhouse with a good-sized man seated upon the ridge. The iron for those chains and those rings was named " swedes " iron, and the ring would seldom break and the weld was welded to stay. The chains were made from wide, flat bars of iron. The bar was first heated to a white heat, then the long-handled chisel was brought into requisition, next the heavy sledge wielded by the man or boy who struck ; and the wide bar was thus changed into three or four nearly square bars, and these were rounded and made of uniform size, and the chain was made by cutting off pieces the right length. These being doubled, linked together, and welded, the chain was done. All this is done by machinery now. Schoolhouses are now built by public money, for the people are rich and the school taxes are paid. Luther Peck plied the smith's hammer all the day, early and late, fifteen hours a day, to feed and clothe his children. He helped build and move the schoolhouse and helped 30 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. pay the teachers and fed them from his own table ; they boarded round, and five or six weeks' board per year would be about fair for the number of children he sent. The remark of the mother was frequently made, "The boys must have knowl- edge." They were taking music lessons frequently, both instrumental and vocal, and were giving les- sons in both ; but this did not satisfy the mother especially ; she was looking into the future. Her brother was the sickly, crying infant of early days grown to manhood, but was rather under size, but had learned to make leather shoes in his mother's cottage. His name was Isaac, and his troubles came and accumulated as the years passed. Then his dear, patient, loving mother sickened and died. Then he was left alone. His last friend was gone. His only sister Annis, who had married Luther Peck, had moved into the State of New York and had a large family. Where could the boy go ? No- where, except to the sister's home one hundred miles away. Then commenced the long journey West, and after weary days he found his sister in her comfortable home. There he rested and drank from the well and ate his meals with the happy family of his sister, who carried him in her arms in the dark times of the Revolution. He remained in the family until his death, and did some work. He had brought his violin, awl, and last and sharp knife and hammer, and among them they con structed a bench, and George, the second son, actu- ally learned the trade of St. Crispin. The oldest boy, Luther, was too constantly employed in the other employment to pay much attention to the The First Luther Peck. 31 " shoe business/* and yet Luther H. actually could and did make some respectable shoes that were not horseshoes. Uncle Isaac did the most of the finer work for the whole family. When he was converted he had more use for his awl than he had for his fiddle in that Christian home. The girls had not learned to dance, even though their Uncle Isaac tried to persuade them to commence to take a course of instruction in the dancing art. He thought they were plenty old enough to learn that art, and yet he was quite sure they were too young to think of commencing to live Christian lives. One day Rachel Peck invited her little Uncle Isaac to go with the family to a prayer meeting, and he consented, and while there he heard strange things. He heard a girl of fourteen years pray in public. That was more than he had ever heard even from a mature woman. The girl was no other than his niece, Rachel Peck. He was amazed, and then powerfully convicted as the prayer of the girl went on. It was not a studied composition, yet there was genuine eloquence in it. She gave thanks to her heavenly Father for his boundless love to sin- ners and for the hopes of heaven. She asked for strength to resist temptations. She prayed ear- nestly for all who were rushing on in the w r ay of death, and then with earnestness and pathos she implored God's blessing upon her dear uncle. His unbelieving heart was broken. She had been the evangelist to save him, and he in turn became the evangelist among those boys of the drum corps. He could not work on his Connecticut violin, and so he hung it up, and the bow was thereafter quiet 32 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. and silent. There had been no learned discussions as to female evangelists, yet here was one, and the poor dwarfed uncle was among her first fruits. Her grandmother, Ruth Hoyt Peck, had heard the voice of Jesse Lee as he swept like a flaming herald through New England, and she told the family of her son, who was laying plans for moving into the wilder- ness of New York, that the Methodists were the people of God, and thus the family were prepared to give the early itinerants a candid hearing. Lu- ther Peck's home became the home of the minis- ters and also the preaching place for the public meetings, his family forming a large portion of the first society in that neighborhood ; nine of them were members, including the uncle, Isaac Collar. The minister was glad of a temporary home in the mechanic's large family ; yet there would be very little opportunity for study in such a family, espe- cially with the headquarters of the military band so near. A parsonage must be provided. The upper loft in the itinerant schoolhouse was the first parsonage, and Brother Peck was very glad to help lay the attic floor, which was all the building there was to do ; still, as a parsonage it was not a bril- liant success, especially for a preacher with a fam- ily. What shall be done ? Well, Luther Peck had got his hand in as a log house builder. The tall, straight trees were all around, so the new parson- age was built. The woodman's ax resounded, the trees were felled, the logs were measured off and notched exactly, a place was cut out for a door and another for a window ; the door was made, nailed by wrought nails with flat heads, and the hinges, The First Luther Peck. 33 made in the same shop, after being put in their proper places swung the door ; a latch with a string attached completed the first parsonage in the old Genesee Conference, and soon Benjamin Bidlack came upon the charge and moved in ; but very little of his time could be spent there, for his headquar- ters were in the saddle. I knew the old soldier in Kingston when he had retired. His house stood in sight of our kitchen door. In that house he breathed his last way back in 1845, an ^ now, after fifty years, I have looked on and seen the beams torn from their fastenings and a fine new house built in its place, while near the old Forty Fort Church stands the white slab which marks the spot of his burial. Luther Peck helped build the first parsonage he lived in. The five sons were charmed by the thunder of his voice, and listened to the war stories of the Revolution. One of them was the story of who Washington took the sword of Cornwallis at Yorktown. Bidlack was a soldier there. The spot where that log parsonage was built is in plain sight of that triangular spot where three ministers were born ; two of them became presiding elders and one a bishop. The lives of the father and mother are the most marvelous parts of this whole marvelous story, and the mother stands as fully in front as the father. As I come to the time and place in this narrative where I must put on record the heart throbs of this remarkable woman I feel as if I must walk with unsandaled feet. The ground is holy. The watch- ing, hoping, praying, working, thinking, reasoning, struggling, the long crying, and believing are his- tory ; but a great part of it will forever remain 3 34 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. unrecorded history except as the recording angel places his seal upon it. My soul is almost too full for utterance. Where are the inspired chroniclers who wrote in living letters of blazing light? Of course a few sentences will tell the whole story. The birth and the uneventful childhood, the gath- ering of a little frosty wood every day for a fire, the watchfulness over a sickly infant brother, lend- ing a hand to a widowed mother, courtship and marriage to a bound-out blacksmith, a few years of housekeeping and a move to a wilderness far away, and then another a little farther, several years of cooking and mending, then another farther yet, then a visit to her oldest son's, then a visit to her youngest son's home among the Green Mountains of Vermont, then a quiet death, with her weary head pillowed on the strong arm of that youngest son ; so the fifth act closes the drama with the day. And is this the finale ? It may be as the world goes, but a thousand times " No " comes the response to the question, " Is that all ? " In that humble residence on that triangular plot where the elm tree is and the old well gave forth its living water, where the drumbeat was so often heard and the ring of the anvil made music of an- other kind, where the cinders remain after a lapse of a hundred years and those cinders have been crushed by careless feet during the century, lived this faithful woman ; yet after all these things have been told there are greater things to be told. " Some angel guide my pencil while I draw What nothing else than angel can exceed — A child of earth devoted to the skies." The First Luther Peck. 35 She remained on the earth as long as she could, and never for a moment desired to depart until her work was done ; weary often, yet not surren- dering. She had a mind strong and remarkably even balanced. She thought much and prayed more. She had the spirit of a martyr and a face as bright as an angel from heaven. She had a con- science as tender as that of Barbara Heck and more power of organization than she had. Her home was a house of prayer whether the husband was home or not. She had the faith such as is described by the poet— " That will not shrink, Though pressed by every foe, That will not tremble on the brink Of any earthly woe. That bears, unmoved, the world's dread frown, Nor heeds its scornful smile; That seas of trouble cannot drown, Nor Satan's arts beguile. A faith that shines more bright and clear When tempests rage without ; That when in danger knows no fear, In darkness feels no doubt. A faith that keeps the narrow way Till life's last hour is fled, And with a pure and heavenly ray Illumes a dying bed." She had the administrative power of Queen Victo- ria, and without the gorgeous surroundings. She had the power of Joan of Arc and Charlotte Cor- day, but directed in a different direction. She had the deep piety of Mary Fletcher and Hester Ann Rogers. And her influence in instilling the spirit 36 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. of reformation into her sons was more than was Susannah Wesley's, because she sent five sons into the ministry while Mrs. Wesley sent two, and with hard duties confronting her every day in a very humble and unpretentious home, while Mrs. Wesley lived like a queen and dressed like a queen. Mrs. Wesley was devout, thoughtful, amiable, and beauti- ful ; so was Annis Collar. Mrs. Wesley was the favorite child of her father, but Annis Collar's fa- ther was in a soldier's grave while as yet she was a child. Mrs. Wesley was acquainted with the Greek, Latin, and French languages, while Annis Collar knew only the language in which she was born ; yet she did five times as much as Mrs. Wes- ley did with very many more discouragements. Mrs. Wesley w^s descended from a family boasting of highbred aristocracy, while Annis Collar claimed no relationship except to the sturdy sons of toil in the wilds of America. Mrs. Wesley taught her two sons to repeat the Lord's Prayer at her side ; Annis Peck taught five sons and six daughters the same prayer, and gave all those sons to the Lord in an everlasting covenant. She had her place of secret prayer in that Middlefield home, not elabo- rate, with no carpet nor lace curtains ; she would often retire to that humble room of plain boards with the door shut, lay the case of her sons before the Lord. They were just like ordinary boys of those times, or of any times, yet they would scorn to give that mother's heart a single pang if they could avoid it ; yet they were unconverted boys that loved boyish sports and the wild woods. The mother loved them as only a mother can love. The First Luther Peck. 37 Time went on and years passed, and as the days grew her anxiety grew. One day, her daily tasks having been done, she unhanded her wheel and be- took herself to her shrine of secret prayer, and there, with her fingers touching the keys that vi- brate in heaven, she prayed with a faith that took no denial ; in prayer her soul drew near to God and still nearer as the moments went on. She urged the cases of her boys with unflagging faith. She gathered confidence as the hours wore on. She took no note of the waning daylight. Rachel and Martha took care of the household duties while the mother was clinging to the altar. No voice attracted her away from that audience with her heavenly Father. Her case was an urgent one, and she cried out, " I will not let thee go ; my body, soul, and spirit, Jesus, I give to thee, and these sons must be redeemed from their sins." The answer was delayed, while her grasp on the throne was a little more unyielding until her sons were given to the Lord in an everlasting covenant ; wherever and to whatever they should be called they should be surrendered. Then the assurance came which she could understand, and ever after that her soul w r as in nowise shaken from her cove- nant, for it was ratified by the Lord of Sabaoth, and she came from that holy audience with countenance sweet and radiant. Her hands resumed their wonted toil, and the itinerant ministers followed each other on their long rounds. Preaching and prayer were uninterrupted by the hard work that had to be done. The members of the drum corps were found at the throne of grace, the third son 38 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. being the first ; his name was Andrew. Then George, and finally, after a camp meeting, the strongest and eldest son gave his heart and hand to the Church, weak and poor as the Church was, and he was his father's assistant in the shop, and not long after he could assist in leading class. The three boys could soon give their testimony intelli- gently in their class meeting. Then after a few years that dear old homestead was sold and the family went to Brookfield, Madison County. The closet of prayer was sold with the house, but the blessing went along with the family. Rachel and Martha had both married and gone out of the happy household. These two were the sweet girls whose voices made music in and around the log cabin in the first New York State home. The remain- der of the family settled in their new home while Jesse Truesdell was a child of three years. The shop was opened and work commenced, and the family altar had its place in the new home. The Connecticut son, Luther Hoyt, had become a strong man and a master workman. His mother called him Hoyt, to distinguish him from his father, Lu- ther. The other boys could attend school more regularly and with growing confidence. Three bright girls filled the vacancies in the family when this new move was made. Mary, Anna, and Su- sanna could more than fill the places made vacant by the going away of Rachel and Martha. That musical and sweet-spirited Reuben Rey- nolds became the instructor of the family and its pastor. The youngest son, Jesse, was soon old enough to trudge to school, and as soon as he could The First Luther Peck. 39 readily call the letters by name he would pursue his studies at the fireplace at home, and with a leaf of some old spelling book or some paper with large print spread out before him on the hearth, and lying down upon his face as near as he dare get to the fire, he would spell out the words and pronounce the short ones; when he came to the longer ones he would spell them and leave the pronunciation to some one of the brothers or sisters who happened to be in the range of his voice; and when they heard his well-known cry, " What does that spell ?" they w r ould pronounce it, and if the answer did not come readily he would repeat the letters as best he could and with an elevated tone of voice, " What does that spell?" In this way he started enthusiastically in the pursuit of knowledge and the office of a bishop, small now but in a world where there was plenty of room to grow. The mother was often heard to say, " Jesse must have knowledge," and thus early she demonstrated her love for education and schools. One day the young stripling was proving by Scripture that a person who had a brother John must love him. He had no brother John. The older boys were listening to hear him prove it and the girls were curious to know ; so he found the passage in the old catechism. He read it as follows : " Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother John." There was a clincher. The other children could not take that reading from the young preacher, but he exclaimed, " Read it yourselves; it is truly there." The third son examined the pas- sage and behold, it read, " Whosoever doeth not 40 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother." I John iii, 10. The young brother was right, and all the trouble there was he had not minded his quotation marks nor pauses. That omission was thrown up to him when he was a master of eloquence and all those five brothers were old men together, This family of eleven children was certainly remarkable in some respects. It was remarkably large — five sons and six daughters, and with the parents and Uncle Isaac the number amounted to fourteen, and yet there was always room for more. On one occasion in the Middlefield house, when one of the more popular itinerant ministers was an- nounced to preach, there was such a crush that one of the beams gave way and there was a very nar- row escape from a disaster. " A providential deliverance/' the mother quietly said. The long table was usually full and sometimes twice. At an after-dinner sermon preached by Jonathan New- man in that house in the early days he took for his text, "Nine and twenty knives/' and preached one of the mightiest sermons that ever came from man's lips. It cut every w r ay, and maybe it was suggested by the free use of numerous knives at the long table. The missionary spirit was born and bred in that mechanic's home. On one occasion, when a camp meeting was to occur a few miles away, the whole family went. The fire went out on the forge, the hammer rested on the anvil, and they spread their tent in the woods. All arrived safely upon the ground. The boys arranged a place to hang on The First Luther Peck. 41 the kettle and the girls superintended the cooking matters. The boys had their place to sleep on some straw away from the rest of the family, but only the distance of the thickness of a woolen blanket. The class leader was on hand to lead singing and prayer, while the mother worked as a Woman's Missionary Society. The meeting was considered a failure, the rain poured and soaked everything. Mother Peck found a stranger boy who had brought a small bit of provision to the meeting and found his first night's lodging in the brush, and the night being rainy his bread had become soaked as well as his clothes. He had become convicted at the evening service and prayed all night alone. In the morning he told his story to the mother of this large family, and she invited him to her table among her hungry children. He ate, and she told him when it came night he should crawl in among her boys. He did so and began to feel at home. In the prayer meeting he was urged to pray, and did so with such earnestness and force that the mother said, "That boy will make a preacher yet," and sure enough that boy became Dr. John Dempster; so there were six ministerial brethren in bed together on that camp ground on that dark rainy night, and the only one who had insight into the future enough to discover theologians around her humble table was that prayerful, farseeing mother. Indeed, there were six, and one was only four years old, and the other was only a peddler of notions; yet all six became distinguished for utter- ing great thoughts, the child and the peddler both as distinguished as either one of the other four. If 42 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. that camp meeting was a failure these six boys never were failures. John Dempster became a master in scholarship, metaphysical discussion, and versatile writing. He was led to Christ on that unpleasant ground in the woods by Mary Kenyon, a girl of twenty, who afterward became the wife of the oldest one of those five boys. Here several romances crowd into one. Andrew Peck, the third son of Luther Peck, told me this fact with his own lips ; he was on that camp ground and was fourteen years of age. I do not weary of listening to school days and incidents of interest which are remembered and told. At one of the family gatherings of the five brothers and their friends this was told by one brother as to how Andrew lost his dinner to dem- onstrate a fact in natural philosophy, Some of the more advanced scholars declared that a bottle filled with fluid would retain it even if it was inverted and the cork removed. Andrew Peck would not believe it. "Yes," they said, "the pressure of air is so much stronger up than the weight of the fluid down that the bottle will not empty/ ' Andrew listened to the arguments, and as soon as he got the floor he spoke slowly as follows : " I think it will kerrulluck and the fluid will come out." "O no," said the main speaker, "it cannot spill, the air in the neck of the vessel will prevent the spilling." Andrew said, " I tell you it will ker- rulluck ; 99 and to prove it he took the bottle of milk which he carried for his brothers and sisters, sud- denly inverted it with the stopper removed, and out went the milk on the snowy ground. He had won The First Luther Peck. 43 the victory in the argument and lost the milk for their lunch, with the remark, " I told you it would kerrulluck." The children went a longer distance from their home to school in Brookfield than they had to do in old Middlefield. A class was formed in the for- mer place consisting of the family and Uncle Isaac and five others, and the work was prosecuted with vigor, rescuing the wayward and rebellious. Those class meetings in the church have ever been the schools of elocution, and the mighty men who have gone forth to preach the Gospel have found their voices in the class meetings of their early expe- rience. They never found out that they could utter connected sentences until they were urged to give a somewhat connected account of their feelings when struggling into light. Indeed, such a talk was considered in old times as a necessary requisite as a continuance in society, and so the timid young man would struggle against fearful odds to get on his feet and open his mouth, when, after his little talk was done and he discovered he was not killed, he would gather courage for another occasion. That was the exact experience of these five boys who became preachers. The father was the class leader, the mother and the girls would talk with- out breaking down, and the boys would scorn to admit that they could not do as well as those sis- ters could. Not one of the five brothers had ever shown signs of oratory anywhere until they had shown it in class meeting. And this same thing can be said of a vast number of the most powerful preachers of the Church to-day. John Dempster 44 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. first exhibited signs of eloquence in that camp meeting while a boarder and lodger among the large family of Mother Peck, and it seems strangely providential that he found his way to the meeting. Three of that group of six were in the General Conference of 1844, delegates from three different Conferences, and all three masters in debate where the giants of the whole Church brought all their mightiest arguments to the fore. George Peck, John Dempster, the w r andering stranger, and Jesse Truesdell Peck all answered to roll call in that his- toric body, and Jesse T. could make the ground shake with argument and pathos with the best of them, North or South. He was only three years old when he was taken to that camp meeting, and whether he slept in the straw with the five other boys or in his mother's arms he grew to become a bishop of a great Church. Elizabeth Peck was installed as leader of their young people's group after Rachel and Martha had gone from home. She was a grand reader, and the Life of Benjamin Abbott, Baxter s Call, the Discipline, and Wesley's Sermons, Life of Fletcher, and the Life of John Nelson became the text-books of the family of ministerial boys. Luther Peck was the Carvosso of all that region round about. While the mother's hands were full of w r ork her heart went out in prayer for those young men. A few years more and the family so united together in social enjoy- ment and evangelistic work began gradually to separate. Two had gone to Chautauqua County. Elizabeth and Mary went to the grave within two weeks of each other, and the little man, Uncle Isaac, The First Luther Peck. 45 went to his rest not far from the same time. So the weak child of the old Connecticut home whose cries had been continued night and day went where weeping is unknown. Soon the two other sisters married, and they went to Chautauqua also, and little Jesse had the whole house to himself, so to speak, and there is no doubt he needed it. His brother George joined the Genesee Conference when Jesse was five years old. At that age his ideas were exceeding large and rapidly growing larger. We have no photograph of him at five, so we have to be content with an autograph written by himself not many months later. He had by persistent questioning and studying and spelling for others to pronounce achieved the art of read- ing; then he went on with a rush, and when the two guardian angels, Elizabeth and Mary, left him, he was thrown out upon the world. Fortunately for the boy Reuben Reynolds was his pastor and instructor. His father and mother looked large to him, and the ministers looked larger, and a man who could teach and preach, and sing, too, looked like a giant. He got hold of a copy of the printed Minutes of the Genesee Annual Con- ference after he could read ordinary print read- ily, and there he found his own brother George's name among those men whom he regarded as great. He would read those minutes over and over between his lesson hours. Then he would read them over again with heart bounding. He would read slowly until he came to the page where the men were received on trial, then his soul would expand as he read with loud voice. " Genesee Con- 46 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. ference — John Dempster, Isaac Grant, and George Peck;" and then he would read on rapidly, " Where are the preachers stationed ? " " Broome, Elisha Bibbins, George Peck." All this I heard him say in a tract speech at Conference, when he spoke with much enthusiasm. It had made consider- able of a man of him reading the old Methodist Minutes. He grew, and his thoughts expanded. Then he repented at the foot of the cross and sought the anointing from on high. It was not long before he was rejoicing in a new life and ex- perience. He had learned to write, and so, getting a sheet of foolscap paper, he took his pen in hand to indite an epistle to his brother George, and with numerous flourishes and a great many capital let- ters he succeeded in filling three pages and a half, and then filled up the last half with the signature " Jesse T. Peck." If the page had been larger he would have written his name larger. I close up this chapter with a full heart. The story will never be dramatized, nor need it be. The main facts have the shady side and the bright side, and there is needed no poetic fancy to color the scenes. I might add a great many facts concerning the child- hood and youth of this large family of children, such, for instance, as the wood farm, where char- coal was burned for use on the forge, where nights were spent watching the smoking pit, where the maple trees were called upon to yield their fluid for the finest sugar, and the fife and drum the while making wild music in the wild woods. The harsh names applied to the boys and girls by harsher teachers ; the friendly contests and strifes for the The First Luther Peck. 47 mastery, and the contests which were not altogether friendly, might considerably add to the size and interest of the book ; but no matter, these minor details are not needed, and so I come to the finale of Chapter I. 48 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. CHAPTER II. Rev* Luther H* Peck* THIS was the Connecticut boy who was born while Washington was President, November 3, 1793. He was four years old when John Adams became President. He was the boy who laid the boasting champion on his back in his school days. He was a powerful boy, and learned instrumental music and was a very creditable performer in vocal music. He attended singing school and learned the notes ; there is nothing on record as to where he attended singing school or who was the music teacher. Certain it is that he could readily read the notes of the staff and sound them correctly. He left home and went West to seek his fortune when he became of age. He could make a good horseshoe and nail, and drive the nails into the horse's hoof, and make all sorts of irons for various uses when he left home. He had led classes quite frequently, and was crowded into the work because such laborers were few. When he went West into Chenango County he was called upon to exhort in the presence of the presiding elder and preachers. It was in a log house, and one who heard him said he seemed embarrassed. However the sermon re- sulted the trip was a success, for he took back with him to his father's Brookfield home a companion who became his life partner. Mary Kenyon was a REV. LUTHER H. PECK. Rev. Luther H. Peck. 49 Rhode Island girl whose parents were Quakers, and a large circle of relatives were of the same faith. She, too, was a singer. In a few months they were married by Loring Grant, on the 16th day of Sep- tember, 1816. Soon the old home was left and they settled in a sparsely peopled locality not very far from her parents. He was in demand because there was no blacksmith for miles around. They went into a small house about two miles southwest from the mineral springs in Pitcher, and there he placed his anvil and forge and commenced work. He kept a journal all his life, but there is no record of any transactions except charges and credit for work and provision ; and that was the case with all the work that he did, for every transaction, how- ever small, had to go on the book, for the farmers around him did not pay money, and most of them could not. The book was long up and down and narrow, and the charges and credit are all in pounds, shillings, and pence, or sterling money. The ink was black and kept in a black stone jug which would hold about half a pint. His pen was made out of a goose quill. Evening after evening were the transactions of the day recorded ; then they were not forgotten, and there was no dispute over the entries. Years and years passed and the faithful man wrote everything in his journal or daybook, or it might be called a blotter. This book can be shown to the curious to-day with hardly a word or syllable effaced. The leaves be- came scattered and separated several years ago and left up in a leaky chamber, but they were found and arranged and fastened together. They were 4 50 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. so faithfully paged and numbered that it was no task to bind them, and there is the evidence of a life of toil and industry in " black and white/' The couple brought from the Brookfield home- stead very few tools, but he had enough to make a start, and he could make the rest or buy them as he became able. He had his fife, Bible, and hymn book, a clock, and an atlas containing maps of the world in very bright colors. The clock was fas- tened up to the side of the house with its back toward the highway. It had no case. The weights and cords and wheels were all exposed, yet it ticked on. The account book, atlas, fife, hymn book, note- book, and some other valuable matters were kept in a wooden chest. The first child was a son, and was named George Wesley. The second and third were girls, and were called Mary Ann and Martha ; and thus a brother and two sisters had namesakes in the family, so had the young mother by giving two names to one girl. Soon after Martha's birth the house and shop were sold or traded and a more comfortable house secured one mile south, down on the Brackle road, right where the McDonough road from the south connects with the Brackle road, the old highway from Cincinnatus to Pharsa- lia, or the Hook, as it used to be called. There is where the writer of these pages was born on x the 31st of December, 1824, on Friday. There Luther was born and Elias Bowen Peck and Andrew Em- ory Peck and the sweet little girl, Eliza Maria. The fife became disabled in the hands of a young boy, Jonathan, who attempted to play drum with it on the edge of the watering trough. Rev. Luther H. Peck. 51 All the scenes and events of fifteen years seem to be rushing together into my mind, and each crowding to get on record first. " The smith, a mighty man is he, With large and sinewy hands, And the muscles of his brawny arms Are strong as iron bands. " His brow is wet with honest sweat ; He earns whate'er he can And looks the whole world in the face, For he owes not any man." The father was strong in body and mind ; indeed, he seemed to be a very giant in strength. He was a good singer and a powerful preacher. He could read correctly. He could lift ten men and a boy, and has done it often. In his middle life, his palmy days, he could lift more than any man in all that region of country. Often and often he has had a heavy horse try to lie down on him, but he never went down under its w r eight. The picture of Atlas with bent back holding the world looked much as the blacksmith did holding up a large horse. His first farm was small, and, like his fa- ther's, it was triangular and not quite as large as the Middlefield farm, but it was a world for the children. Vegetation would grow and ripe plums would fall from the trees, and apples, some sweet, some sour, could be gathered from trees. The cherry tree would yield its annual allowance of very bright red and very sour fruit. There was a barn, the home for beast and bird. The curious nests of swallows, stuck fast to the rafters inside the attic, could not be interviewed ; they were placed out 52 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. of reach of the hands of the small boy of that period. Those birds had a good supply of caution. Father kept a mare, and that barn was her home in win- ter and stormy nights. The largest room was the room for the hay, and there was a large beam, and when the hay was in that barn was the playhouse, whether it rained or not, and the children could play for hours. The child that could crawl up on the beam and jump off into the soft hay was wel- comed to the circle of youthful athletes, and was enrolled on the scrub team. The swallows would flit through the diamond window in the gable and sit securely on the edge of the nest or hang to a brace and seem to say to those children, " You can't catch me." Dear old barn ! one of the most cherished spots on the round earth. Luther H. Peck purchased a small farm a little south, and in sight of the front door. That farm had no build- ings, and did not need any. It w T as paid for in installments, small ones, it seems, looking back to those scenes and events. A good deal of the fer- tilization and irrigation came from the sweat of the father's brow and the sweat and tears of the boys. Loads of hay, corn, and potatoes came from that farm, and pail after pail full of rich milk. Indeed, the " Old Homestead M was enacted there in real earnest. The Joshua Whitcomb was there, and the load of hay and the wayward sons, two or three of them, and the scenes changed year after year. That homestead on that triangular lot had the usual surroundings and accompaniments. Often have the children in mature manhood dreamed about and longed to see again the stone wall, the Rev. Luther H. Peck. 53 old stump in the front yard, the cellar door, the great irregular stone step, in front the noisy door with a handmade iron latch and handle with no lock or key, the great stone mantel over the fire- place, the chamber door with various wheels and images made with a fork or some other instrument of ornamentation. There by that chamber door once sat Grandfather Luther Peck and wife, Annis Collar, side by side, old and their strength nearly gone, yet with love as strong as of yore. If I had then known the half that that venerable couple had passed through I should have gone upon my knees before them with reverence and gazed into their wrinkled faces until the twilight of the evening came. There they were ; the frosts of many win- ters lay lightly on their locks. The hand that grasped the sticks of snowy and icy wood in Revo- lutionary times was wrinkled, and the feet that had tramped in cold, deep snow were tired. There sat a man who voted for George Washington when he was elected the first President of the United States. There they sat by the chamber door, in the home of their firstborn son, their Connecticut boy. That boy had become the stalwart man. The family altar was in that home. The weary couple sang, and sang sweetly, " When I can read my title clear To mansions in the skies." The singing swept like a heavenly wave over my youthful soul, and I wished they could stay forever. The tears of joy coursed down the furrowed cheeks. From that time the corner by the chamber door at the right of the old fireplace was dearer than it 54 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. had been before. They went back to their Brook- field home ; we stayed in our old homestead. Work went on in the house as well as in the shop. There was a loom, a quill wheel, reel, swifts, and a weaver's shuttle. My first work was to pick up this shuttle when it dropped from the hand of my mother, hand it to her, and thus save her from get- ting out of the loom to procure it herself. The dear mother is gone, but the old shuttle lies before me now, venerable and worn, and is now resting. The faithful hand of the weaver would send it swiftly on its journey carrying the thread ; the other hand would grasp it and send it back to be grasped again — through and back, again and again, and each thread in its turn pressed to its place by the reed fastened into the weaver's beam. A thou- sand threads lying side by side were required to make a yard in length of fine cloth, and thousands of yards of cloth came out of that loom during my days at home. The old clock would tell the noon hour, and the dinner came regularly. So the days and years went on, and Luther H. Peck early every morning kindled the fire in the fireplace and watched the fast-departing woodpile, went into the shop, and we, from our bedchamber, could hear the ringing blows that wrought out for us a good living. That strong right arm had wonderful stay- ing power. The boys were hired out as soon as they could earn something more than board. I went away during the summer that I was eleven, but could not earn more than my board, and prob- ably hardly that. I lived at the Hook with Gen- eral Hendrick Grain. He lived on the hill a little Rev. Luther H. Peck. 55 east from the corners in what was then a red house, and in the late autumn my father came and took me home. He and the general were always fast friends. The review day was a great day to me. General Crain would review the militia once a year, generally in the afternoon, the forenoon having been occupied in company drill. The great fields, where there was plenty of room, were around the Hook. The drums and fifes would make the best music that I ever heard, and I generally kept as close to the band as possible. In the afternoon, when the general would call out in stentorian voice, " Prepare to form the square ! " the troops would move with rifles at their shoulders, officers with red plumes and epauletted would lead their men, and by filing north, south, east, and west, a great square was formed, generally with horsemen form- ing one side, with the more fiery horses champing their bits. The drums were stacked in the center of the square. The soldiers grounded arms, and, while the old flag floated over his head, Elder Peck offered prayer. The officers uncovered their heads until the prayer was ended ; then the troops would sweep around and across the field, and the bass drum would seem to make the very ground shake, while the shrill fife and the rattling snare drum would seem to fill all the air with inspiring strains. When all the small drums were united on the double roll to the tune " Bonaparte Crossing the Alps " my boyish heart would almost burst with enthusiasm. I felt a childish pride in the fact that my father was the minister for such an august assemblage, even more than in the fact that I lived 56 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. in the home of the general who gave command on the field. My father was a modest, kind-hearted man. He never lost his conscience ; he inherited it from his New England grandparents and his Connecticut parents. This story is told in the family yet. It runs as follows : A brother of Gen- eral Crain declared to a company of men gathered at the Hook that he thought Elder Peck could be prevailed upon to set a horseshoe on Sunday, and there was quite an emphatic negative ; finally, to end the dispute, one of Elder Peck's best friends was deputized to go down to the elder's shop and, with some trumped-up urgent case, ask him to do the work. " No," was the response, not harsh but kind, and no persuasion could turn him from his usual course. The wager was lost by the one who took the side of the question that the conscience of Luther H. Peck could be shaken. The Pilgrims were built of other material, and he had their blood in his veins. He was the John Nelson of the Church in the Middle States, or, maybe, the Philip Embury. He was ordained an elder by Bishop Hedding, and never dishonored his parch- ments. I have seen his parchments as deacon and elder. I have seen his license as a local preacher, dated Pompey, June 13, 18 19, and signed by Charles Giles, Presiding Elder. This is the same Charles Giles who preached such a mighty sermon on the camp ground the dark, rainy night when John Dempster was converted and crawled in among Sister Peck's five boys to lodge on their bed of straw. This same John Dempster signed one of the licenses which authorized Luther H. Rev. Luther H. Peck. 57 Peck to preach. He was ordained deacon July 15, 1832, and elder September 3, 1837. Both parch- ments were signed by Bishop Hedding, the last or- dination occurring in the village of Cortland. He had, therefore, been an elder forty-four years when he died. He made the prayer at Pitcher Springs on the occasion of a great celebration on the Fourth of July. This was in 1839. One or two old Revolutionary soldiers marched in front of the procession near the old flag. The meeting was called to order down by the Mineral Spring. Ros- well K. Bourne read the hymn, Samuel B. Kenyon read the Declaration of Independence, and Dr. Matson gave the oration. This was my first expe- rience in such celebrations, and I distinctly remem- ber having some of the highly seasoned filling from a roasted chicken, and likely because I was the son of the chaplain. I was the only boy that had that exalted privilege. My father preached frequently down at Willet and Adamses, below Cincinnatus, at Bangall, at North Pitcher, at Northwest Corner, at the State Road, Podunk, or East Pharsalia, at Oxford, McDonough, and Lisle, and all around. I can remember some great donation parties at our old Brackle home. Loads of hay, grain, and vegeta- bles, butter, cheese, meat, and so on. He preached for nothing and boarded himself, and paid quarter- age to help the traveling preachers through, and shod their horses for nothing. He was a splendid reader, though not a very fast one. He learned some grammar from Mary Ann, the oldest girl, and spoke very correctly. He made his own musical instrument, the only one he ever had after the 58 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. young drummer boy broke his fife. This was a tuning fork, tempered and filed very smooth. It would sound A natural, and, by going up or down from that, all other keynotes could be found. He stood by the Church and ministers. He was strong and brave like Achilles, but he never " sulked in his tent." His father never did, and he inherited the loyal disposition from him. None of the five brothers ever sulked in their tents ; they all inher- ited another spirit from their father and mother and grandfather and grandmother. It was never a Peck trait to sulk, nor a Hoyt trait, nor a Collar trait. Our home was made cheerful by cheerful voices, and everybody was welcome to it, especially the ministers. I remember distinctly when D. W. Bristol came to our house on Saturday to fill the place of the presiding elder in the neighborhood. He was then young, well dressed, with hair as black as coal. He sat before the fireplace and visited with father and whittled with his sharp knife until he had quite a pile of chips on the hearth. Father had been disappointed in not seeing David A. Shepard come to attend his own Quarterly Meet- ing, and from questions that father had asked about the elder young Bristol imagined that he was not wanted, and so he prepared to go home and leave the Quarterly Meeting to take care of itself ; but he kept adding to his heap of shavings on the hearth. How the matter was arranged I did not know, but one thing is true— he stayed and at- tended the Quarterly Meeting. Father went ; the love feast ended and, the crowd being let in, the tall young man ascended the pupit, where he was Rev. Luther H. Peck. 59 at his best and maybe nerved up to do his best by the hint that another was looked for. He took his text and went to his work immediately ; he straight- ened himself up to his full height, his voice was loud and commanding, and the crowd in the gal- leries hung breathless on his well-rounded periods. My father began to breathe his " Amens," then the orator's curly hair whipped around over his fore- head, his r's rolled and swelled and trilled. My mother used her handkerchief freely. The young people lost their hilarity, while the young preacher, feeling confident that he was getting a victory, went on louder and grander, rising as on eagles' wings, until his peroration carried the whole multi- tude off their feet by a rolling wave of enthusiasm that went on for several seconds after the orator had ceased speaking. The sacramental service fol- lowed in its turn, the collection was taken, and the crowd moved slowly away. The oratory of D. W. Bristol was not a matter of question after that in that neighborhood. B. W. Gorham once came to our house, and at the request of mother he sang the touching story of the death and burial at sea of the missionary's wife. After intimating that the children should sit down and keep still he com- menced with his own clear, ringing voice : '* The bright sun down a cloudless sky Was sinking in the West, And night had tinged with somber dye The ocean's heaving breast." There were four verses, I think, and my father and Mary Ann took in the tune from this once hearing it sung, and after they had obtained a written copy 60 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. of the words they sung it often and often in that old house at home, and it always gave me a kind of sorrowful thrill, especially when the line came describing the sad parting and doleful wail as the coffin was committed to the dark waves as the night settled over the sea. I remember what trouble they had to tell what the word " somber" in the third line, really was. But they kept at it until they got it right and sung it correctly. Father would come in from the shop to take a little rest, and after picking out some tune in the hymn book he, with the aid of his tuning fork, would hum over something that struck him as especially good. I remember that I was in the house when he first saw the tune named " Duane Street." It was in some sheet, I think, like the Sunday School Advocate. The tune and words were together. The words ran as follows : " A poor wayfaring man of grief Has often crossed me on my way, Who sued so humbly for relief That I could never answer nay." Father sung it with no one to assist him. The words I find in an old number of The Christian Advocate a few years earlier in date than I first heard them. The tune always charmed me, but the words charmed me more. There are six double verses of eight lines each. The occasions when vast droves of cattle would tramp along the highway to some far-off market were very interesting, and two or three pairs of eyes would watch from the gate the slow-moving herd. These great beasts, hundreds of them, with Rev. Luther H. Peck. 61 as many pairs of great horns, would follow each other in irregular ranks and go right on until the last one would disappear ; then we would go to our play and father would resume his toil. The old Brackle church was built when I was a boy often. Father helped cut and hew the timber. He held the foot of the posts along one side when the great bents and beams were carried up by strong men. Indeed, father always held the post on one side when a building was raised, and the boss workmen were sure to select father. He would often be called upon to brace himself and hold the post against the lifting of forty or more mighty men. His head was always level and his nerves steady. I have seen him on such occasions, with his unyielding arm fastened around the strong lever, with the lower end of the lever inserted into the mortise where the post is to finally rest, and feeling for his foothold, braced like a very Her- cules, while the men ranged along the great beam, the word would be given, and all lifting their best, with two or three great shoulders under the post which he was trying to hold, when a slip at his corner would be fatal to more than a dozen men, I have seen the great lever bend as the brave men were tugging at the post, never fearing that the foot of the post would leave its place, with one arm around the lever and the other hand reaching for the great timber to help the men who were lifting for dear life ; then the beam rested in its place and all breathed easier. Luther H. Peck was sure to be at one corner on all such occasions. Among the many large houses and barns raised in the 62 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. town no lives were lost in my recollection. It seems to me that when the three-story hotel and boarding house was put up over at the springs one bent fell after it was partly up, but as near as I can remember my father was not blamed. I am not sure as to whether anyone was killed. There was bad management somewhere. When the old Brackle church went up the timbers were heavy and green, and yet the work was so skillfully done that no joint had to be cut in the process of rais- ing; every joint was braced and the braces were pinned at each end and the joints pinned, and the architect declared that it would hold together to roll over and over. After many years builders have come from other towns to examine the frame, to inquire what time of year the timber was cut. Not a joint had weakened nor a stick was struck with decay. The cyclone that prostrated nearly all the buildings in sight did not shake the old church one inch from its perpendicular. Father did the iron work. He made the hooks for hanging up the long stovepipes and drove them into the beams overhead before the plasterers did their work. Brother Peck and his son Jonathan mixed the mortar, some of the time wading in it with their naked feet. This mode of mixing was soon abandoned because the particles of lime would pro- mote uneasiness among the toes. I remember one remark of the boss mason like this, " It takes a Jackson man to turn a corner." That was the first instance that I remember of politics in church. The dedication must have been in the winter, for Horace Agard came from the direction of McDon- Rev. Luther H. Peck. 63 ough and moved slowly down the hill south of our house in a cutter. Father had gone to meet him so as to be sure he would not be discouraged by drifts and fail to get to the dedication. The ser- mon was a grand one. I remember one passage which struck me as fine. Speaking of the care of his flock by the Saviour, he said with a voice, musical and sweet, " The young and tender ones shall be carried along in his bosom and the old and feeble ones shall be taken up and laid beside their Shep- herd." A protracted meeting followed, and among a large number converted my sister Martha was enrolled. William Wyatt and B. W. Gorham ren- dered efficient service. The cyclone was in August and it was terrible. The dwelling house on the hill south of the church was destroyed to its foundation, and a dear little child perished in its mother's arms. The rest of the family escaped. The large house of Grand- father Jonathan Kenyon, a few rods from our house, went to pieces while my uncle and aunt, my sister Martha, and the adopted boy, Smith Soper, awoke in separate rooms to find the roof com- pletely gone and the brick chimney filling the sitting room, having in its fall carried the chamber floor down with its weight. The bed where the boy slept up stairs hung in its place, while a part of the roof lay on the bed and held the boy fast. The rain poured. My uncle with blanched face came in his night shirt to our house. He had met the great pile of brick at his bedroom door and had managed to get out of his window and come for aid. Father called to us boys and we hastened down 64 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. stairs. The window at the foot of our bed had been broken in by the flying sticks and clubs from uncle's house ; our roof was gone and the rain poured. Father had lighted a candle and was calm and collected. There never could be a panic where he was. We boys hurried into a little room \ off the kitchen which had not lost its roof. Father provided my uncle with clothes. My brother George rushed over to uncle's and, finding his way by the aid of the electric light, clambered up the pile of brick in the sitting room and pried the roof up so that Smith could pull himself out. Sister Martha came over a very scared girl. She had worked her passage out of her room, out of doors and down the stone steps, and made her way with all speed to our house. Smith was told to " crawl in with the boys " which he hastened to do and the whole family w_ere soon under our piece of a roof. The rain poured into the sitting room and the west room for several minutes and then the storm passed away. The daylight came and revealed desolation all around. The house had lost nearly all its shin- gles but nothing more. The barn ditto, with a big mow of hay soaking wet. The old shop ditto, and the cow shed more than unroofed. It lay prostrate on the ground. The fences were spread out. My uncle's carriage house was pushed from its foundation and gone to the ground, yet it stood perfect with three fine hogs crushed under it. Great apple trees were torn out by the roots and carried away as though they were mere feathers. Some were twisted off leaving nothing but a slivered stump. One child, on farther east, was blown out of bed and was Rev. Luther H. Peck. 65 caught by a wooden pin of the rafters and was found hanging by its night shirt and rescued with no damage, except very wet and badly scared. Col. Asa Kenyon shed tears over the destruction of a very fine forest of sugar maples. But we es- caped marvelously with our lives and limbs, and the family altar was unharmed. The Bible was wet but no promise was torn out. My little chair was all safe. The old anvil was not blown away. The first work was to replace the shingles on the roof, and kind neighbors helped, and I was large enough to climb a ladder with arms full of shingles, and I was glad to have that honor. Then the barn was roofed and, strange to say, the hay was not dam- aged, every pound of it was fed out and readily eaten. Then the shop was put under a coarse roof, fences were repaired, and work along the Brackle re- sumed its wonted regularity. The Chenango Tele- graph contained a full report of this tornado and the paper may be on file in Norwich. We did not then know the word cyclone, but this whirlwind was as terrible and destructive as the one that swept over Wilkesbarre six years ago. One day my uncle Asa came to the shop with his old horse " John." He was to be shod, and father fixed him up splendidly with heavy shoes and calks that would not slip from the shoes nor would the shoes slip from the feet after they were nailed and clinched. The work was done and dur- ing a few minutes' visiting, a neighbor came along with a heavy load of lumber and a light team. The road was quite muddy and the wheels sunk deep into the mire and the team stopped, discour- 66 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. aged, and the man was discouraged. My father got hold of the hind wheel but it was no go. Uncle Asa suggested that old John could help if a collar was found large enough. So the old hump backed horse was brought from the shop, a strange collar was brought and he put his head through it, a chain was attached to the tongue, .and the three horses made several efforts, but the load stayed there. My uncle looked excited and vexed. Old John had never been hitched to a load that he did not pull. So he says, " Take off your colts," and they obeyed and soon the log chain was wrapped around the tongue and hooked to the heavy whif- fletree and John tried the ground, and tried his shoes, and tried the strange collar, raised his head and straightened the big chain. My uncle pulled the lines a little and shook the light whip toward the old horse and then bending down cried, " Now John you must draw." The calks and shoes and hoofs of the veteran animal sunk into the turf and bending low he straightened his limbs and with a mighty spring forward the wheels rolled out of the mud in a second and the hand of my uncle patted the horse on the ribs remarking, " I knew you could do it." The tracks of that old horse's feet where he had plowed the sod remained there for several weeks. That horse was there to stay until that load moved, whether a heavy shoulder was at the hind wheel or not. Nothing broke and the load moved. Elder Peck had no vacation days and no birth- day parties nor birthday presents, nor any other presents, and he did not give any presents. I re- Rev. Luther H. Peck. 67 member I was allowed to buy a book for a cent. This penny was the first one that I ever used to buy anything for myself with. There was no candy in the world that I knew of and I never heard of peanuts. In the spring of each year we could eat all the warm maple sugar we could swallow, so we did not need candy. As to peanuts, we had chest- nuts and beech nuts which answered very well. I started for the store, a half mile away, with an old- fashioned cent and hung fast to it until I got to the store ; there I tendered it for a little picture book. The book had five or six leaves in it, an inch and a half long and about the same width, paper covers. I hastened home feeling rich. The book had birds in it, and the story of cock robin was glorious to me until my brothers and sisters began to criticize the book harshly and me more harshly for buying that book, so I gave up buying books and did not commit to memory the story. The new book lasted probably a week and then went out of existence. My next deal w r as a nice top traded off for a chew of spruce gum, but it was smaller than it seemed. It was a thin covering of gum around a chestnut shell and behold, the meat was out of the shell. I was criticized for that deal more than for the other. Yet I lived through both. The cent expended in literature showed that my father was a friend of education. The merchant was bankrupted soon after and the goods removed. The store finally traveled along the old highway until it rested opposite my grandfather Kenyon's house and was converted into a horse barn, the very building that crushed the swine when the cyclone came, 68 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. The old journal that father kept so faithfully contains an entry dated on New Year's Day, 1825, the very day after I was born. January 1st, and no rest. He set a shoe for Charles Corning, six- pence. I remember a New Year's Day after that which turned out to be a very sad one. It was in the year 1838. We were getting a load of wood. The oxen were young and somewhat insubordinate, but we managed to get on a good load of logs and we started for home; father going ahead with the ax. I was at the side hanging to the rope attached to the horns of the near ox. The sled had cast- iron shoes and all went well until in making a turn to the right where it was a little descending the tongue broke and the load went crashing against the heels of the team. They sprang for- ward like a flash, wild with fright, and knocked father down, trampled him under their feet, and the chain holding fast to the load one runner caught him in the small of his back and plowed him along over the snow and hubs for two or three rods. I stood appalled. Soon the runner rose with its load and went on over him and there he lay in the road helpless. I ran to him but could do nothing. Abram Silvernail, I think, saw the trouble and ran immediately to his side and in a moment raised him to his feet and steadied him until I got my shoulder under one arm ; he placed his under the other and we moved along slowly towards the house ; very little was said. No complaint was made and father tried to look cheerful. We went on up the hill and came to the front door in about twenty minutes. Mother looked alarmed. The Rev. Luther H. Peck. 69 strong arm of Luther H. Peck was powerless. The good friend helped me until we had him tenderly laid upon his own bed. The case was serious. There were no bleeding wounds in sight but there were signs of internal bleeding that were alarming. We bathed his face and hands and hastened to pro- cure some spirits for him. Our New Year's was a sad one. In the morning a young man had passed us in a cutter and greeted us with, " I wish you all a happy New Year/' The sun went down in gloom. Next day Rev. Lewis H. Stanley came over the fields across lots and found the house of Father Peck a very sad one. He was the young preacher on the Otselic Charge. He sat by father's side, bathed his brow with spirits, lifted him, turned him over when he desired, handed him his little bite to eat, his cup of water to drink, knelt in prayer for him and the family. He remained several days acting as nurse, and he was splendid. In a few weeks father was again at his work with the same cheerful spirit he always had. We managed to get that load of wood home and cut it up, and burned it while the strong man was convalescing. The new preacher had a warm place in all of our hearts. In the spring of 1839 I went to work for John Corning and my wages would be six dollars and a half per month besides my board for six months. These days seemed long, but the man and his wife were both amiable and kind and he and I did a good summer's work and everything prospered around the house and on the farm. They paid father the wages and the amount was very much 70 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. needed to make a payment on the farm, and I was glad it could go there. The next summer I worked for Russell Stewart on the farm where the Brackle church stood. We had hard work but much fun, with wages a half dollar more per month. The six month's wages amounted to forty-two dollars and that went to clear the farm from mortgage and I was again glad. The next summer I was a strong work hand on the farm of Charles Browning in Pharsalia. They had a boy a little younger than I and a good deal smaller and two sweet girls. He had forty cows and a heavy span of horses. He had another hired man at ten dollars per month. I received eight and a half, and I had credit for doing about as much work as the other hired man. I was trusted to take care of the team and drive it. A new house was built and several hundredweight of cheese was made, and several firkins of butter. When the pay day came the money was ready and father put that fifty dollars into the farm. We were too near the Hook to get lonesome, and the hired girl and the little daughters would not per- mit us to get to sleep in the day time. Father worked on and soon bought a piece of land to add to the size of his second farm. Then he bought another farm across the street from the house, so that the old shop could stand on his own soil. After a few years more he made a purchase of Uriah Harvey of his whole farm with buildings. It lay on the side of the South hill in plain sight of the old front door. He also bought a farm in Wisconsin for Elias Bowen, and the deed was his. He then purchased a forest of beautiful sugar Rev. Luther H. Peck. 71 maples and purchased and made the tools required to make the delicious sugar. The two boys had gone into the ministry and it would be hard to tell how he could have done more or better if he had tried. When mother died he was the owner of real estate and personal property that would sell under the hammer for five thousand, five hundred dollars. He had worked it all out himself with hard, honest toil and the help that we children could render, and the dear mother did her full share. They had helped all that came to them in need. Often and often I have seen the little boy of a neighbor come cautiously into the entry way, open the door just far enough to look in and stand there silent, hold- ing his little pail, while a ragged sister would stand just behind him. In a few minutes mother would see them and soon fill the pail with milk and they would hurry away home with it. Three grandsons of my father laid down their lives, volunteers in the Union army during the late rebellion. Three more have gone into the ministry, and he being dead yet speaketh. The tragedies and comedies that were enacted in the old Brackle homestead would fill volumes. The actors are gone and others have come bearing other names and the Gospel wins its widening way. Father lived until he was eighty-seven years old. There was one time in his life when his heart failed him. He was alone in the woods chopping with his sharp ax when an accidental blow ampu- tated three toes from one foot. He gathered them up and started for home, but, feeling faint, he wilted and left the toes in the woods and hurried 72 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. home. The wounds, after careful dressing, healed and the foot became a match for the other. That boot was always odd shaped at the toe, and I never knew when and where that accident occurred. He was a right royal man, and was a master among men. I have looked on him with reverence, seeing him work and tug, and as he drew his finger across his brow the sweat would run to the ground a stream ; and I would have felt unworthy of being a son of his if I had weakened in the least in any of life's hard duties. He worked to accomplish good, and had very few honors thrust upon him. I have heard him pour forth a tide of eloquence that would enchain the crowds that heard him. I can remember a text that he preached from once in the old Brackle schoolhouse. The seats and writing desks were full and all crowded. He was mighty in prayer and a grand singer ; these having been gone through he announced his text, " O let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end." His neighbors and his neighbors' children were there, but there was no room for trifling nor criti- cising ; the best educated heard him gladly. There were couples there for whom he had performed the matrimonial ceremony, and while he rose to the height of his subject, describing the grand times that would come when wickedness should come to an end, the young people were attentive and grave, and all hearts seemed to throb with new life. I had witnessed other kinds of scenes in the old schoolhouse. I had heard a stone inkstand burst and fly to pieces on the hot stove. I had heard a powder squib explode inside the stove and throw Rev. Luther H. Peck. 73 the stove door open. I had seen one teacher dragged by the hair of the head nearly out of doors. I had seen blows struck upon the head and in the face of insubordinate pupils until blood would flow. I had been in hard snow battles, when we played war and Indian fights. I had been tumbled end over end from the end of the long line when we played " snap the whip " around that house. I had stood on that very platform with a long ox whip in my hand playing I was driving oxen when I personated Deacon Homespun while acting on the stage before an applauding crowd. I had seen stones fired at the heads of boys in real fights, but my memory was never more impressed than on that night when my hard-handed father was preach- ing to a crowd with an eloquence that was almost irresistible. They tell of a time in the forties when the preachers and people were holding a camp meet- ing in a not far-off woods, when the local preacher was pressed into service to preach and he bravely took his place in the stand and announced the hymn, one verse of which read : " This work my hoary age shall bless When youthful vigor is no more, And my last hour of life confess His saving love, his glorious power/' Then he sang ; he had a camp meeting voice, and he led while all joined in ; then he announced his text and the preachers smiled : " They shall dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. The evil beasts shall cease out of the land ; there shall be showers of blessings." He preached and 74 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. had a good time. At the close of his sermon every- body praised the local preacher, and the Gospel banner did not trail in the dust in the hands of that preacher. He never allowed it to trail where he was. During the Avar of 1812 he was a volun- teer fifer and would have gone but another volun- teer fifer was drawn by lot in the stead of him. So he never had any war stories to tell us children except what he found in the books or papers. - The Christian Advocate came regularly every week into our home from its very first issue until the day of father's death. He lived in his Brackle home some three years before the Advocate was first printed. I was born a year before the Advo- cate. In my struggles to spell and pronounce I can remember distinctly lying down upon the floor with the great sheet spread out before me and spelling out the large words at the head of the paper — Christian Advocate and Journal and Zions Herald. I had a " run round " in my earlier days before I could walk by myself. This machine was a per- fect piece of mechanism. Before the old house was plastered, the beams overhead being in sight, a staple was driven horizontally into one of those beams and the upper end of a pole, planed smooth and octagonal, inserted into the staple. The pole had a spur in its lower end, and was long enough to reach to the floor. It could turn round on the floor, and the top end could turn in the staple. There was an arm framed into this pole about two feet from the floor, reaching out about a yard. A bow bent double and inserted into two holes in the Rev. Luther H. Peck. 75 arm completed the machine. The child would be let down into this bow or half circle until its feet touched the floor and the child's arms rested on the wood, then soft cloths were pushed around un- der the arms. Then the fun would commence. Round and round the child would go, using the feet for pushers. Hours and hours would be thus passed while the weary mother would have time to pursue her daily household duties. The feet of the child would patter on around and around until the eyes would close and the hands would hang over the sides of the carriage. I suppose that thousands of times I have gone around that " cir- cuit " before I could walk by myself or before I knew who I was or where I was. I can remember when my brother Luther traveled that same circuit after me. Those feet have just now, after sixty- seven years of travel, come to their last rest. My first circuit was about fifteen feet in circumference, The " run round " was never a success after the old staple had been hidden by the lathing and plaster- ing overhead. I do not know of any other man excepting Luther H. Peck whose home contained that kind of a circuit in front of the fireplace. My uncle, Asa Kenyon, already mentioned, had an ambition to display fine horses, and he had a good degree of a military spirit. On one parade day, in a very large meadow, while the officers and soldiers were performing their evolutions I saw Colonel Kenyon on one of his own spirited horses leading a long line of horsemen, single file, away around the outside of the field. They were not in uniform, but had just volunteered for the occasion. 76 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. There were old men in the ranks and some boys that I knew. I ached to be in that long line on a horse. So I persuaded my uncle, Solomon Ken- yon, to loan me old Jim, and he was about as handy a horse to ride as an average ox would be. I was twelve years old and of good size and could ride any horse ; so I put on a folded blanket upon the back of Jim and was soon in the ranks. I wore my coat, which was a full dress coat, a reg- ular double-skirted swallowtail, the first and the only one I ever had. I used the whip rather freely until my war steed got up quite a speedy move- ment. I kept my place in the ranks, and I thought, of course, we were the observed of all observers. Round the field we cantered ; finally, as we were passing the musical corps one of them rushed out toward our ranks and made a rattling noise. Of course my horse jumped a little one side, and of course I went to the ground, but the other horse- men did not stop for me, nor could they. On the ranks came, horse after horse cantering and jump- ing, planting their feet all around me, and I was as anxious to get out of the ranks as I had been before to get in. I succeeded with no loss of limb or blood. I crawled up to the fence just in front of the old Nathaniel Lewis home. The fence was lined with ladies and gentlemen, sweet girls and noisy boys. My uppermost thought was shame that I had fallen off from a horse. I had no idea of the danger I had been in. I picked up the half of my skirt that had somehow been torn off and went away humiliated. That man that playfully rattled the drum at us was Albert Ensign, and was Rev. Luther H. Peck. 77 afterward teacher in our old Brackle school, and soon afterward became a minister and traveled for years in the old Oneida Conference. I never after hankered for a position in the ranks of cavalry, but I always felt as secure on the back of a horse as on my own feet. The reason why I was not severely punished, I suppose, was that the leader was my mother's brother. Father always liked him and he liked father, and he was about the only one who paid money for blacksmith work, and he did not very often. But father was always paid for his work in good pay. One exception I remember. There was one load of hay brought to him which was guessed at and called a ton, but after it was put into the barn it was judged by the best men to be fully a half ton short, yet it was never made good. I remember when the schoolmaster called the names of the men who sent children to school to ascertain how many came from each home, my Uncle Asa's children would answer " Eight. " One of the larger boys of my uncle's family was brought to father's with marks on his back which had been made by the teacher. That was Ahira Johnson who afterward joined the itinerant ranks and was a very popular preacher. Father called him a great man. The men of those days had to pay for the teaching of their children. That was why we had to answer to roll call every night at close of school. I have known the master to get out of all patience trying to keep order and call the roll at the same time. No wonder the boys sometimes got marks that they would carry for days, for their 78 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. conduct would make even a minister fight. But boys are boys the world over and ministers are only human. A boy is always in a hurry to get out of school, and at sundown with the dinner bas- ket empty, the hat or cap in hand, with both eyes on the door, it would seem to require a regiment of soldiers to keep order while the roll is being called. Yet the teacher must call it every day and get it correct, too, for his pay depended, in those days, on the correctness of his report. Elder Peck always stood by the teachers and the preachers also. I remember only one that he helped discharge — fire, as it would be called now- adays. A smart, bright young man came to the Brackle school and seemed to be anxious to make his mark, and succeeded very well for some weeks. When it came time for him to board at our house he came and made himself quite agreeable and we children did our best to be agreeable to him. One evening he and the elder got into conversation on matters of history. During the discussion the master remarked " that heathenism, superstition, and priestcraft had ruined the country, so far as he had read." This was passed over without any serious objection. A few weeks after I brought home my copy book, and a scriptural copy was written by the teacher that was read over carefully and pronounced not acceptable. It was simply a quotation from Job, " Naked came I," and so on, just enough of the verse to make a copy the whole length of the page. Our folks thought it was in- tended as a kind of slur on the Bible. Possibly he was only looking for a line commencing with N. Rev. Luther H. Peck. 79 He may have exhausted the alphabet and got to " Many men of many minds" and being a little hurried he wrote the first thing he could call to mind that commenced with N. However it was, he took his dismissal as gracefully as possible. My first recollection of anything or anybody any- where is of a grove meeting held in the woods near the old Brackle schoolhouse, over by the cold spring, just a few rods west. It was in the sum- mer of 1827. I was then two years and a half old and many are doubtful as to whether any one can remember occurences when they are so young. But I distinctly remember the meeting. What they called it or who preached I only know by having been told in these later years. All I re- member is that w r e came along the Brackle road, turned in to the left and came to a log and looked over the log and saw a great lot of people, mostly women, all sitting down with their faces west, or their backs were toward me and the tops of their bonnets seemed to make a level arrangement like a floor. My sister, Mary Ann Atwell, now living, writes me that there was a grove meeting that year near the cold spring, and that father and a Brother Coggswell, of Northwest corner, another local preacher, and one other were the preachers at that meeting, and she remembers distinctly that my brother Luther was a child in his mother's arms, He was born the March previous and I was two years old the winter previous. So the date cannot be doubtful. Captain Crandall had his residence just across the road south and he was a grand supporter of 80 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. the weak society. I remember a quarterly meet- ing a few years later in his large barn, the barn was full. I had some kind of a seat over the stable. The horses were out and the stable was full of peo- ple. I could look down between the slabs upon the tops of the heads of the men. The preaching was at the south end of the threshing floor. One young fellow where I was had a large, sharp pointed knife, and he opened it and would let it drop and stick into the slab under us. Once when he dropped it it missed the slab and went through the crack, but the handle was thick and it caught, else a man with a bald head who was directly under us would certainly have been killed. All the harm there was done, I and one or two others, missed the sermon. Elias Bowen was presiding elder that year and Rufus Lummery was the Cortland preacher and came all the way to Brackle to preach, some twenty-two miles. Captain Crandall was a great friend of our folks. He was a splendid me- chanic in wood and no doubt made the wood work of the baby merry-go-round. He certainly made mother's loom which was the most perfect piece of workmanship that could possibly be made. Father did all the captain's iron work. His name occurs often on father's journal. Andrew Jackson Cran- dall, a very eloquent preacher, was a nephew. Father was ordained deacon at the next Conference and altogether likely had his recommendation from the Quarterly Conference held in that barn or maybe that convened in the house. No less than ten preachers have gone out into the traveling ministry from the old Brackle society : George W. Rev. Luther H. Peck. 81 Peck, Jonathan K. Peck, Luther Peck, Samuel B. Yarrington, A. J. Crandall, Giles Green, Isaiah Lord, A. J. Kenyon, George W. Peck, D.D., LL.D., Charles L. Peck. Nearly all of them very near relatives of Luther H. Peck. This is a show- ing that is well worthy of recording. Father was in a protracted meeting at North Pitcher when Ira D. Warren was pastor, out of which went forth to the itinerant field several young men, some of whom knew father well and were familiar with his singing and preaching. That revival occurred in 1 85 1 , when seventy-five probationers were added to the church roll. The following ministers date their initiation into the working ranks at that period : Enoch P. El- dridge, Linus M. Nickerson, Albert Ensign, Albert G. Fargo, Hubbard Fox, Sheldon Hinman, Ran- som Hinman, Charles Ruddock, L. H. York, and H. B. Smith. These added to those already named as starting from the Brackle and we have twenty ministers coming into the ranks from the town of Pitcher, which casts at a presidential election less than three hundred votes ; I ask Is there a town of its size in the United States that has done any better? One winter when I was a boy, I was tipped over while riding on top of a load of hay and my head went against the frozen ground. I was holding fast to a bottle of spirits which was intended for helping cure the measels. My older brother and sister had that disease. The bottle broke and the wine ran out ; Elder Atwell came along in his styl- ish cutter and sympathized with us, but it seems 6 82 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. to me now that he remained in the cutter while father scooped up a little spirits from a hollow in the ground and rubbed it on my bruised head. Brother Atwell trusted to the strength of Father Peck and another friend to raise the load of hay and place it on its feet, and they did it, and we soon got home minus the bottle and its contents. The children got over the measels without the inevita- ble milk punch, and work was resumed at the old stand. Luther H. Peck was ordained deacon side by side with a class of eleven traveling preachers and some local preachers. Moses Adams, Lyman K. Reddington, Lyman Sperry, and Morgan Ruger were among the eleven. William W. Ninde, V. M. Coryell, James Atwell, Calvin Hawley, William Round, and Sylvester Minier were ordained elders then. George Peck, Andrew Peck, and John Dempster were on the floor of that Conference in Manlius, and Jesse T. Peck, a boy of twenty-one, was received on probation. There were six of those boys who slept together on the straw in Mother Peck's tent on the damp and muddy camp ground in Mindan eighteen years before and all the six took their appointments except Luther H., and belonged to the Whilom drum corps. Two of them were that year appointed presiding elders, namely, Andrew Peck and John Dempster. George Peck went to Cazenovia. The youthful Jesse T. was sent to Dryden. The oldest, the fifer, went to his Brackle home. Asa Cummings was recorded as a " worn-out preacher." He had been pastor at Middlefield twenty-nine years before when these Rev. Luther H. Peck. 83 men were boys and had sat at Father Peck's table when Luther H. was ten years old and George was six and Andrew a child of three. Rachel was fif- teen and Martha thirteen. The minister and his wife slept in the attic of the schoolhouse as a par- sonage. After this year, 1832, I began to be old enough to remember occurences more distinctly. Father and mother continued their activity and hard work and were very earnest in church work. My Uncle George came and made us a visit. He sat not by the chamber door but back toward the sleeping recess, clean shaved, wearing a white col- lar with a suit of black clothes and his hair was black. He was then at the head of the school in Cazenovia. Then he was in his prime. Uncle Andrew came and remained longer, stayed over night, asked the blessing at the table and led in morning prayer. Gave me a very mild warning to seek the " pearl of great price." I undertook to lead his horse to the creek for its morning drink. His name was Billy. He jumped and ran, and I let loose of the halter, preferring not to be dragged under his heels to the creek. The horse got a severe repri- mand from his master in words like this, " Why Billy, how could you conduct yourself with such unbecoming impropriety. ,, Billy shook his head and made no reply. I escaped without even a mild reprimand. The truth was the horse had been recommended to me as perfectly gentle, and I could not in my youthful intelligence discover the gentleness of the venerable Billy and I felt af- flicted. Uncle Jesse came to our Brackle home and I do 84 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. not remember much except that he walked rapidly through the entry into the west room, down the two steps in entering, that he had a faultless suit of clothes and his boots squeaked as he walked. This visit may have been to help in a camp meeting which was held over at North Pitcher, where he preached a funeral sermon of Abby Reynolds, daughter of Rev. Reuben Reynolds. I remember being one day at that camp meeting. At that visit I remember he helped mother take a hot pan of meat and smoking grease from the fire and carry it into the back room, and burned his fingers severely rather than drop it on the clean floor. A man once came to the neighborhood to teach a singing school and we turned out quite a crowd in the lower Brackle schoolhouse and we got well started in learning the notes when one night a bil- let of wood was thrown by one of the boys toward the door and it landed inside of the bass viol. It hap- pened during recess and the teacher had set it care- fully away in the corner where it would not get hit and it happened to be just where it got spoiled. He came to our house discouraged. He talked with father and seemed to feel that he should have his in- strument mended or another bought for him, but no one of the boys in our family had helped in the destruction of the viol, so he did not get much sym- pathy from father. When it came time for family worship the chapter that was read had the passage, " If a man think himself to be something when he is nothing he deceiveth himself. ,, I imagined that it was intended for the singing master and thought now he will be more discouraged than ever and Rev. Luther H. Peck. 85 he was, for he taught no more singing on the Brackle. I remember my grandfather and grandmother Kenyon distinctly. The house was only about forty rods from ours. I remember seeing grand- mother sitting with her back to the fire in her rocking chair with her clean white cap on. Grand- father lived a few years after she died, and when I ran into the house one morning he spoke so roughly to me that I thought it bordered on pro- fanity and I hastened away home. He was a good man, but in mind he was somewhat weakened in his old age. He gave me a lamb for my name and it got killed in the yard where the swine were kept. He then gave me another. That one increased until I had quite a flock and when the other sheep were sold mine went with the rest, but my tears were dried up by the sight of the money which I laid away carefully in a box in mother's bureau, and though I kept a close watch of it, it got worked in on the mortgage of the homestead and my three years' wages went the same way, and I hold only my name, Jonathan Kenyon Peck. The old homestead on the Brackle is immortal. The scenes are photographed and engraved on the memory of more than a score of persons even now living. The old anvil with the indentation which was worn into its face by the making of horseshoe nails, thousands and thousands of them, one at a time, under the blows of the heavy hammer.. That anvil has a likeness in my mind and in the minds of a hundred other persons. The house is gone and another stands in its place. The barn was 86 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. drawn away from its first foundation down upon the Root farm. The carriage house that I helped build moved over across the street and stopped near where the old shop used to stand. The west room which was the parlor of the old house was attached to the west end of the wagon house to add to its capacity. The well is there, though the creek is dry most of the year. All the keepsakes I have now is the old, weary, and worn shuttle. My sister's sons have the anvil and I have hankered after it for several years. The scar that I carry on the back of my left hand was made by a heavy case knife wielded by Elias Bowen in answer to a mild reprimand which I gave him for hacking notches in the end of the dining table. The hori- zontal scar on my temple just in front of my right ear was made by a heavy, sharp ax wielded by my brother Luther. It was not intended and w r hen he saw the blood running down into my neck he cried with terrible grief. The scar on the inside of my left hand near the wrist was made by a sickle, reap- ing wheat in the orchard not far from the old sweet apple tree. The scar on the little finger of my left hand was made by a sickle while I was reaping oats in the lot across the street from the Grandfather Kenyon house. These are some of the keep- sakes I have which I will never lose while I live. I was the cause of killing one man's horse down by the old Brackle church. Father always told us when driving in the street to keep to the right. I did so and the other man did not, but turned to the left and the shaft of my cutter perforated the near horse of the other team and it died in the Rev. Luther H. Peck. 87 road before they got it home. I was prosecuted for trespass and damage. I was cleared because I had obeyed my father's injunction and kept to the right. The young man who drove the other team swore positively that the fore feet of his team were in the old Brackle road and the hind end of his sleigh was on the little bridge in the cross road toward the church. Russell Stewart measured the distance from the Brackle road south to the little bridge and found it four rods and he was at the trial as a witness, so the young man claimed that his team was "four rods long." Ahira Johnson, the pastor, was there that night, and a minute after the accident occurred asked the young man where the crash happened, and he replied " right there," pointing to the little bridge. If he had said up yonder in the Brackle road, his statements would have agreed. But the justice was only a few hours in deciding that I was right in keeping to the right and the case was lost with the horse. There is a song in these new times the burden of which is, " Keep in the middle of the road." This would certainly bring collisions. This collision occurred just a few rods from the old schoolhouse where the bass viol was perforated. In that old schoolhouse I have at- tended great quarterly meetings and my father has taught singing school. He was a splendid music teacher. I regret to close this chapter. I love to linger over the memory of a good man. He was one of the most faithful husbands that ever breathed. He was a peacemaker, was sociable and companion- able. He lived and died trusting God and confid- 88 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. ing in humanity; with many reasons to falter in trusting humanity, he never faltered. He had talents for a successful advocate at the bar or a major general on the battlefield. He had not the dash of Napoleon, but. he had the staying power of Wellington. He was honest. His word was his bond. He owned the property he possessed in his own right, and never hid anything behind another per- son^ name. A note with his well-known signature attached was always worth its face in cash — not one was ever protested or discounted ; he could qualify or go upon a bond to the amount of three thousand dollars or more, and in case of an execution the property could be found even if he had been laid in his grave. He died with three thousand dollars on record in his favor in the court records of Che- nango County, and that judgment amounts now to over four thousand. The World's Fair closed the very day of his one hundredth birthday. So that the one hundred and first anniversary of the birth of Luther H. Peck has only just been. He was seven years old when the nineteenth century dawned. What a century ! Twenty presidents came and went during his life, and three wars came and went. His grandfather went down in the Revolution and three grandsons in the last war. He was wise in counsel and prompt in exe- cution. His wearied and broken body lies near the old Brackle church by the side of her who was " worn out" some years earlier, the same one whom w r e called mother for so many sweet years. Fare- well, noble hearts, till the morning shall break. Rev. George Peck, D.D. 89 CHAPTER III. Rev* George Peck, DJX THIS name stands for a great man, and this sen- tence of plain English seems tame as I put the pen to paper. I have half a notion to draw my pen over it and give expression to something more appropriate. As the world goes, only a very few names carry the word Great attached to them. Peter the Great, Alexander the Great, Caesar the Great, comprise about the entire list. Maybe Napoleon should not be left out ; and there was Sesostris, a Pharaoh of ancient time, a ruler over a portion of the dark continent, who has passed into history as the Great. Still many names other than these will shine with grander luster through the revolving ages than any or all of these. The men that are to-day called the " Great men of God " are in no wise less than these I have mentioned. There are great rulers, and there have been great rulers, great kings, great queens, great discoverers, and inventors, great warriors, great orators, great prophets, great poets, great historians, great schol- ars. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Copernicus, Isaac Newton, and Benjamim Franklin, all these and a thousand more have been called great. So I dare venture to attach the term to the subject of this chapter, and notwithstanding he was not born to title nor nobility nor wealth nor with rare genius, 90 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. I hesitate not, now that his farewell to the world has been said, to say George Peck was a great man. True, he never tore the jaws of a lion, and it is true that he never swam the Tiber, nor the Rubicon, nor the Hellespont, nor the whirlpool at Niagara, nor does he have credit for carrying his father out of a burning city as ^Eneas did old Anchises out from the flames of old Troy. True, he never was sworn on an altar to hold eternal hatred to the Romans. True, he never crossed the Alps at the head of legions and thundered at the gates of Rome. He never saved a city nor destroyed a city. But how can he be pronounced great unless he has done some great thing? I will answer by a plain recital of his life. He was born in the woods, but it was under a roof. He was born in a cabin, a log cabin, a very poor cabin, cradled in the arms of a mother who had four children before him, and he could not be a pet, except in the sense that the other children were, especially after another came after him. The firstborn can be a pet or favorite, so can the youngest, so can the first son. But he was the fifth-born, and the second son, and the youngest child for only three years. He was not the seventh son, so he could not be a famous phy- sician. He was simply George Peck. He was not extra large nor extra small. He was not born great, nor did he have greatness thrust upon him, so that if he became great his greatness had to be achieved. He early found himself in a happy group of happy, healthy children, and very poor children. He was not a musical prodigy, nor an oratorical prodigy, nor a mathematical prodigy, nor a marvel- Rev. George Peck, D.D. 91 lous hunter of wild beasts ; in fact there was not a child in the large family, nor hardly one in the town, that was not his equal in all that constituted great- ness. He never was fed on the marrow of the bones of lions. He never was wrapped in lion's skins. He never was tested in the dark waters of the Sty- gian river. He was born and nourished and reared among trees and mudholes and rocks and stones, a common boy among common children. He never had lessons in elocution nor rhetoric. He early learned to swing the heavy sledge and blow the bellows, and bear down on the end of a lever to drive the steel drill through cast iron, but all this other boys could do just as well as he could. He did learn to beat the drum, yet no professors were ever hired to teach him. He never was sent to the house of correction, for his father could attend to all that business. He never had to be sent to the workhouse, for he was not disinclined to work, and his father could generally give him a job and board and clothes. He learned to make leather shoes from his uncle, and worked at the business rainy days, when the farm work rested. He could burn charcoal and cut the wood to burn it of, and he could go through all the steps of making maple sugar. He could make the woodwork of sleds and iron them, as will be seen further on. His mother prayed for him and had some apprehension that he would come to some bad end, and his father feared he would never amount to anything. Here he found himself in his teens, in Middlefield, Otsego County, N. Y., with these lines of employment — farming, sleigh-making, blacksmithing, shoemak- 92 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. ing, drumming, coal-burning, and sugar-making — seven kinds of work he was more or less skilled in. He commenced his education when the old schoolmaster summoned him to his duty in this classic language, " Peck, you scoundrel, come and read." He did not care to answer to that kind of roll call, still he walked up to the side of his in- structor and said his A B Cs. By dint of much urging, and some coaxing and hiring and compel- ling he achieved the English language so that he could read quite readily. He took a course of lec- tures from his father and his mother and his sisters and the ministers who came through the country preaching the Gospel. One of the ministers was a small man, and once while preaching, with a hogs- head for a pulpit, the floor of his pulpit gave way under him, he went suddenly into the interior of the cask, and then with difficulty could see his audience, yet he continued his sermon, and rising on his tip toes he could catch an occasional glimpse of his hearers and they could catch an occasional glimpse of him, and he concluded with a peroration, and omitted the prayer at the close. The boy who had begun to learn the oratory of those times was not especially pleased with the weakness of the platform or the rostrum, and though he had never essayed to speak in public on the stage, he thought within himself that such a stage needed hooping, or the speaker should be a taller man. Time went on, the preachers came and preached and changed, work went on, and the boys practiced on their fife and drums and grew along toward manhood. The two boys, George and Andrew, Rev. George Peck, D.D. 93 were up at the barn together. Andrew, the younger, had already been converted in a meet- ing in the homestead, and he suggested to George that it would be a good thing for him if he also would start, saying in his boyish earnestness, " You must have religion for yourself or you will go to hell." This broke down the young man to have a younger brother venture to speak thus plainly to him, and he made haste to commit himself publicly to the good cause. There was nothing remarkable in his conversion nor in his public profession. He simply said in a love feast at a camp meeting, twelve miles from his home — it was held in Minden, Montgomery County, N. Y. — "Two weeks ago last Thursday God converted my soul." There was nothing indefinite about the time, and the place is on the map. There was no doubt about the fact nor who had done it. He said that, after waiting and trembling, brave boy. This was his first speech in public, not remarkable, short and to the point, just such as thousands of boys have made before and since, yet he had not copied from anyone. The spot on the bare ground where his feet stood is there yet, and can be pointed out to-day, and the town retains its name and is on the map. There stood the orator making his maiden speech. He was not a king's son, nor had he received an anoint- ing by his mother of ambrosia, as was Achilles, but, what was infinitely better, he had received in an- swer to the prayers of his mother the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Here is his start for greatness. No great parade is made over the reformation which had been produced in his heart. Father 94 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. White merely said, " Praise the Lord," and the meeting went right along. This was before Sab- bath schools had been introduced into that region, and the catechism was the text-book, and between hard days' work at manual labor, reading the Bible, singing the old hymns, and learning the catechism under the instruction of the mother, the happy children passed their days. The new home farther west opened new fields of labor for all of them. The father left home to spend the winter, taking Luther Hoyt with him, and George had to lead the class. It usually met in their own house, and more than half of the class consisted of their own family. With trembling and hesitation the young man would go on with the meetings, and as the neigh- bors would come in to their public prayer meet- ings, George would do his best to make the oc- casions edifying to saints and sinners. He had the counsel and encouragement of the dear mother and her earnest prayer, and his sister was guiding angel. The Spirit soon made him understand that he must begin to gird himself for a life battle in the ranks of the itinerant ministry. Books were read and questions asked and answered, and sought the best answers he could get from the ministers and in the home circle. The ministers came but seldom, and their tarrying was brief. The books which con- tained the best thoughts of the best men of the Church of those days and former days were carried around for sale. Wesley had produced several volumes, and Fletcher and Baxter and John Nel- son and Benjamin Abbott had spoken words that shook the world, and whenever the family could Rev. George Peck, D.D. 95 muster enough money to purchase one of those volumes it was added to the scant library and the contents were eagerly read and re-read. Work went on, and study and prayer were the mottoes of the family. When Loring Grant came to his ap- pointment once in two weeks he met with a warm welcome. Brother Grant invited the young man to go with him around his circuit. He did so, and tried to talk in the place of the preacher, and once he found himself at Keelers in front of a large con- gregation trying to preach, stumbling along, and finally, at the end of thirty minutes, which seemed an age, sat down in despair and wished to get where he could hide out of sight. As soon as meet- ing closed, and the two preachers were by them- selves, he told Brother Grant he wanted to go home, but Grant could not consent at all. He had not discovered any signs of greatness in the young man, nor any great success, and proposed to him to try again. That he himself did much worse than that when he commenced, and somebody must do this work, and all anyone could be expected to do was to keep trying and do the best he could. After one or two more trials, which were somewhat of an improvement on the other, and after the young brother had repeated the substance of a sermon he had heard, Grant immediately spoke up, " Well, Brother Peck, you will make a great man yet." This was the first time the term great was applied to him, except it had been applied to him by the savage old schoolmaster when he would snarl out, " Peck, you great dunce, [or, great fool] say your lesson/' or some good deal harsher term. The 96 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. two finally decided to follow each other around the large circuit until Conference, and trust in the kind Father. On the sixth day of June he rode from Hitchcock to Cazenovia on horseback in a driving snowstorm. Ice formed on his face and in his hair. Then would come visions of the home « circle, with the mother and children reading, sing- ing, and playing their little games, with a blazing fire on the hearth, and the father under shelter working out a good living, and enough work for himself and his father, and wealth and fortune for him in the future; all these feelings were struggling in his mind while the chilling snow was driving into his neck and a small company of critical people awaiting him, or most likely a cold and empty house. Homesickness has attacked many a young man with less reason for such sickness than George Peck then had. However, the sickness was kept to himself, and they found their way after a few weeks to the house of George Harmon, the presiding elder, and the arrangement was made that George Peck should preach the year out without pay. Reception into the Genesee Conference followed that year of preaching for nothing. Then for the first time his name appeared in print, alongside of the names of the mighty men whose sanctified elo- quence was making the mountains shake along the St. Lawrence River and across it and the Susque- hanna. He is one of them. The drummer boy is now a man committed to one work for life. John Dempster, his chum on the old Mindon camp ground, is in the saddle, and behold, his appoint- ment is St. Lawrence, Canada, and George Peck is Rev. George Peck, D.D, 97 at Broome or Binghamton and the region round about. His old pastor of Middlefield, who had a log parsonage built for him, Benjamin Bidlack, a veteran in Washington's army, is set down for Sha- mokin. Here is a Conference covering nearly two States and both Canadas, and those States the larg- est of the whole Union. Marmaduke Pearce is presiding elder, his district taking in all the country from Williamsport through Wyoming and Canaan, everything on up the river to Owego. The Broome Circuit reached from Smithville Flats and Green, on both sides of the Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers, down to Vestal, and everything in sight and some that was not in sight. He stayed one night at the home of Mr. Hale, whose daughter after- ward married Joseph Smith, the notorious Mor- mon prophet. Smith found the golden plates from which he said he translated the Book of Mormons. He found Emma Hale here also and married her. The old gentleman Hale took a liking to Mr. Peck and treated him kindly, but detested Smith. They had no preaching place in any village and no church to preach in. George Peck had a resting- place with the u Deerslayer." He lived near Kirk- wood, and moved into those woods to hunt, and that day when the young preacher rode up to the door the good lady said they were " out of meat " and her man had gone to see if he could bring in a deer. The hunter was successful and shot a fine buck, and the minister had a piece of it. The " Deerslayer " slew a hundred animals a year and sold the meat in Philadelphia. This hunter ranged the woods way above Great Bend and on over to 7 98 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. the Delaware River. McDonough was one of the preaching places, yet no church was there. The u parlor city " was not a city then and had no Methodist preaching. The young preacher was called the boy. He was tall and thin. He had no carpeted study into which he could enter every day and, comfortable in gown and slippers, work out his theological propositions and trace out the Greek roots. Yet he studied when and where he could. He even went away to Norwich and got books that had been sent to the presiding elder for the preachers to sell or keep and return all un- sold. When the time of Conference came he went to his father's. The session was in Canada, in the village of Elizabeth. He had received fifty dollars for his year's work, and pulled through. The next Conference put him back on his old charge, where he had been wrthout pay. In that circuit lived his brother, Luther H. He had been in counsel at the Conference with such mighty men as Charles Giles, John Kimberline, Loring Grant, and Marmaduke Pearce. The appointing power at the next session assigned him to Wyoming. He had been ordained a deacon with his class, and heard Joshua Soule preach; Robert R. Roberts was the Bishop, He started from the session of the Conference in Lan- sing, N. Y., for " fair Wyoming on Susquehanna's side." He was surprised at his appointment, thinking he was too young and inexperienced to fill such an important place. He had to measure up even with the very best and strongest men of that mighty body. He mounted his horse that his father had Rev. George Peck, D.D. 99 furnished him with and worked his way into re- gions all new to him. Marmaduke Pearce was presiding elder and he gave the young brother some kind words of encouragement. Finally after days of weary riding with his tired horse he saw the enchanted ground, Wyoming Valley. He had fifty cents in his pocket. Everything was strange to him. Everybody was a stranger to him. The camp meeting was just closed and the revival was going on in the old Forty Fort Church. On Sun- day morning, August 9, 18 18, he went into the old church to preach and was greeted with a large crowd. He was just twenty-one years and a day old. A rising young man met that large congre- gation, ambitious it may be, yet it was an ambition to do good. He was remarkable for modesty and a child-like spirit, yet he was no child. He made no parade of his humble origin as some do and he did not boast of a lack of college learning, but all the time he was studying like a hero to become as learned in the sciences and classics as any man of his age in any profession. In the afternoon he preached in Ply- mouth, I suppose in the room over the academy. The next Sunday he preached in the church which stood on the square in Wilkesbarre. In the after- noon he went to Hover Hill and preached in the Ruggles schoolhouse, and Monday went to Stod- dartsville, up the five-mile mountain. About that time were the strange sights and scenes connected with the old shingle maker in the woods. The young minister kept his head and gave good advice to persons who were screaming and shrinking away 100 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. from fiery devils. The people rushed out in crowds to hear preaching, for the times seemed to be perilous and demons chattered and grinned out of the darkness, and men and women started up in their waking dreams and rushed to their friends for safety, and all hearts seemed to throb uneasily, and crowds rushed out to the meetings expecting, maybe, to hear the new preacher shake his un- combed locks and roll his wild eyes and stamp his feet and cry out in spasms that the old world is about to be consumed by fire. But they saw and heard no such thing from George Peck. He took his place in the pulpit, tall and well balanced, calm and collected. He would read a hymn and sing it and ask the congregation to join with him. Then he would kneel down and offer a fervent prayer and then take his text, " Do thyself no harm for we are all here." Then he would preach logically, point- edly, powerfully, and persons who had been star- tled with dreams and fearful forebodings would walk up to him, not timidly as though approaching a stranger, but confidingly as though a dear brother was among them. He went into their families and sat down in their humble dwellings, knelt and prayed with them, ate the humble fare which they gladly set before him, rested his horse and himself, then went on his way. In fact all the people had heard of the flying visits of that strange evangelist, Lorenzo Dow, who would preach and fly away to some other place, as if in a hurry to get to another city before it was destroyed under the outpouring of divine wrath. Many were on the point of com- mitting suicide, others were blasphemous, and Rev. George Peck, D.D. 101 some sinking down into moonless and starless atheism. The young minister had been brought up among just such people as inhabited this part of the State of Pennsylvania. His parents were Connecticut people and, many of the inhabitants of this region were from the same State and even blood relations to him. They hated Indians and tories and pitied those possessed of witches. George Peck found a field here for the display of the best power he could command, and without any parade or any circumlocution or any apology went to his work, determined to do something. He came here to fill the places and occupy the pulpits which had been filled by such giants as Anning Owen, Benjamin Bidlack, Marmaduke Pearce, George Lane, and even Francis Asbury had been here and preached and prayed and gone half discouraged. The masterly eloquence of Valentine Cook had echoed among the mountains around Wyoming Valley and those men were then enjoying the very prime of their popularity. Now comes a young man from the North woods to try his measurement alongside of such full grown men. He goes to his work just as confidently as ever veteran marched to the front in face of a terrible foe. In a few weeks he goes to Forty Fort and preaches and goes down into the waters of the classic and historic river and baptizes the converts who had come, warm in their first love, from the old camp ground. Elizabeth Myers, who \#as con- verted under the spreading oak which stands on the opposite side of the street from the Charles Shoemaker residence, is one of the number bap- 102 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. tized. Another is Mary Myers, who afterward be- came the Gertrude of this romance, and still another sister, Martha Myers, who is a convert, joined the itinerancy when she married Joseph Castle. After this baptism there was a camp meeting announced up in Salem, Wayne County, and eight or ten gentlemen and ladies, all on horseback, went to i that meeting. At its close the young preacher left the company of girls and young men and the pre- siding elder and took his journey through the for- ests to Stoddartsville. Getting around he found his way to Forty Fort, half sick he rested some and was taken into the care of his Presiding Elder Pearce. He soon recovered and went on with his work. Vast crowds attended the services in the Forty Fort Church. The converts were taken into full communion. Among them, Mrs. Gore and Mrs. Pettebone. All this time the people, old and young, were taking the measurement of their young preacher in comparison with the mighty men who had gone before him, and I hesitate not to say that the universal verdict was that George Peck in nowise suffered in comparison with those noble men, and the man that records impartial history in after years will never discount in the least this eulogistic statement of a very near and admiring relative. At twenty-one he was a peer among the first rank of pulpit orators in the whole church. He was a near friend of Charles Miner, the histo- rian, legislator, and editor ; a near friend of Judge Ross. He was admired and respected by old Dr. Miner, who was a leading orator as well as phy- sician, and yet not a professor of the Gospel which Rev. George Peck, D.D. 103 the Methodists were preaching. The Abbots and the Starks and the Searleswere close friends of the young preacher. Rich and poor loved him for his kindly manner and his generous heart. He studied his books as faithfully as any student ever did and yet he never shut himself away from the people. He mingled with the suffering, toiling people and k petted the noisy children. He could preach and keep his thoughts in line if a dozen children were crying all through his sermon. Here his greatness began to appear. This classic valley became the scene of his hardest work, his mightiest controver- sies with opponents and his greatest victories. He found a home in the family of Philip Myers. There he slept and rested. In that home he was married to Mary Myers, the youngest daughter. That home became a dear spot to him, and so lasted for all the long years of his life. The mar- riage was solemnized on the tenth of June, 1819. How changed is everything and everybody now ! I pause just long enough in the thread of this romantic narrative to drop a tear on the hearthstone of that once bright and happy home. The great broad hearthstone lies in its place to-day and only last month I walked over the spot. The logs and wood- work have perished but the stones and brick of the oven and old fireplace are there and the walls of the old cellar are there. Thomas Bennett and the boy Andrew are gone. The former, one of the forty who gave name to the fort close by. He was the grandfather of Mary Myers Peck. The latter was the young hero of the Meshoppen tragedy. The father is gone and the blind mother 104 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. is gone. She it was that sat there by that hearth and saw her daughter given to an itinerant minis- ter. She it was that went with her mother to have an interview with Queen Esther a few days before the terrible scenes at " bloody rock. " That same Queen Esther was the priestess who presided at that tragedy and was the chief executioner. After the sight of her eyes had gone out Martha Bennett Myers sat by that hearthstone and related the scenes of that third of July to the minister, her son- in-law. There at the hearth sat Professor Silliman and heard the same story in all its tragic details. Mary Myers Peck knew it by heart and the truth of the whole story was as the mother had often given it to her, and having been put on record it needs no revision. I brought away a piece of the old chimney, a piece of the old oven, and a piece of the old hearthstone. In that oven the bread had been baked for years and years to feed the hungry raftmen who ran down the winding river. In that room by that hearth the votes of old Kingston township were received through the front window for a hundred years. In that same house George Myers Peck was born, and I ask pardon of him for breaking off the front corner of the old hearth- stone. The first child of Mary Myers Peck was born here, and in the barn in Kingston occurred the tragedy which came so near ending his life. The child had concealed himself under some locks of hay which one of the girls of the house had thrown down, and down came the heavy pitchfork and nearly perforated the neck of the little child and the cold steel stunned him. Still he is living now and past Rev. George Peck, D.D. 105 seventy years of age and has done the life work of a strong man. The right side of him was ever after this a little less robust than the left. But I must resume the story of our young itiner- ant. After a year in Wyoming he went to Bridge- water, which took in the territory all around Mon- trose for miles. His young wife went with him. The New England blood was in the veins of both, and though they were met by some cold hearts and unfriendly hands, and some disputers and very learned contradictors, there was no shrinking nor weakening. Over on Snake Creek he went to one house that was a barn, and being sick and almost helpless, he begged to have a little rest, and the kind lady gave him words of encouragement and administered to him some strong herb tea and put him in the granary to rest and sleep. In a few hours he was again on his way to further conquests. Before the year had closed he was changed to the Wyoming District as presiding elder, probably the youngest man who had yet been placed at the head of a district. Certainly the youngest reckoning the time of his ministry. Hardly old enough to be an elder. Thus early he began to show what metal he was made of. This work on the district was laborious and without pay. Yet his wife had the opportunity of sitting at the old hearthstone where she had spent her childhood days. Then after three months the two took their wedding trip to Niagara Falls, not to see the great wonder, but to attend the Conference which met in Canada near by. It was held at Lundy's Lane, where General Scott had one of his hard battles with the British. 106 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. The couple left their home in Forty Fort and started in a carriage with wooden springs for Canada, and arrived there after a two weeks' jour- ney. There he was ordained an elder, though he had been acting as presiding elder part of the last year. He could only have been a presiding deacon. On their way home from Canada to Wyoming they stopped at my father's, which visit must have been made at the first place where they began to keep house, a mile or so north of the old Brackle home- stead. This was four years before I was born. They reached their Wyoming residence and pre- pared to take a trip to Canaan. That was his next preaching place for the year to come. He called the place the " Beech Woods." The circuit was strange to him, so he hurried to get acquainted. He found only one place to preach in of any pre- tentions, that was the courthouse at Bethany. He had no money, and his suit of clothes was one made from cloth woven by his mother-in-law. This was the charge on which he preached in a borrowed coat, for the cloth dressers delayed the cloth for his new suit. This also was the charge on which he received rye and corn and meal as his salary, and took the bags on his horse to his home. There he received so much maple sugar that he bartered the surplus for a set of wooden-bottomed chairs, and I mis- trust his son George has the chairs yet. At Beth- any he became acquainted with Hon. David Scott, and they were ever fast friends. Judge Hamlin, of Salem, gave him rooms for residence rent free. The church prospered during the year and prog- ress was made. The year ended, and then he went Rev. George Peck, D.D. 107 to Conference, which held its session way up in the northern part of York State — Paris. He was there in time, and among his other duties he was called upon to preach at the session and before the bishop. That sermon was followed by his appointment in the church of that village. There were only three or four stations in the whole vast Conference, and George Peck was assigned to one of them. His power was developing rapidly. He had to read and write and study. He resolved to master every subject in the line of his profession, and put his best thoughts to the front in his public ministra- tions. His congregations increased, and the church seemed to be prosperous. The next Conference, held in Vienna, Ontario County, changed him to Utica, another station. Work and study and prayer filled up his days. The next Conference elected him delegate to the General Conference, and he thus commenced his career in legislation. He was the youngest man in the delegation, and the men together were called " a pack of boys." They were elected by ballot and not by seniority. The General Conference was exciting, as such gatherings always are. The body met in Balti- more. Leaving his family in Wyoming he pre- pared for a trip to that city. Gideon Lanning and Loring Grant came along, driving two horses, one ahead of the other, and stopped for refreshment and rest at Forty Fort, and invited Brother Peck to take a seat in their carriage. He gladly accepted, and the trio of legislators made their way over Po- cono Mountain and in three days reached Phila- delphia. The youngest of the Northern delegates 108 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. preached in the Quaker City twice. On they went, leaving their team at Port Deposit, and rode on steamboat the remainder of the journey. The elec- tion of bishops was exciting. The lines were then and there drawn between North and South. Two candidates for bishop were named in a Southern consultation, and two among the Northern dele- gates. George Peck was deputized to inform Elijah Hedding that he was nominated as one of the candidates for bishop, and John Emory was the other from the North. He found Hedding in tears. Hedding and Soule were elected after three or four ballots. We thus early find George Peck in the very inside of the grand council chamber of the Church, modest and true. At the gathering of that important legislative body he studied men, their modes and elocution. He observed how men of different classes and tastes pursue lines of action ; he noticed how lines were laid and wires were pulled. He heard the greatest orators of the whole Church on both sides of the water. He heard the mellifluous oratory of that master, the youthful John Summerfield. He listened to the thrilling adventures of James B. Finley among the Wyandot Indians of the West. At the Annual Conference of that year he was assigned to Wyoming Circuit, but before he had commenced his rounds he was changed to Pre- siding Elder of Wyoming District, or Susquehanna, as it was then called. At the session he had been Chairman of the Committee on Education, and took the lead in founding Cazenovia Seminary. It was at that session founded and chartered by the State. He was not a graduate of any school, and nobody Rev. George Peck, D.D. 109 suspected that he was, and yet he could read the Scripture both in Greek and Hebrew, and that is more than some pretentious graduates could do then or now. He came to the district trembling, and yet trusted in God. He was twenty-seven years old, and had only eight years in the ministry, with his preparatory work to do as he went along. His district reached to and embraced Bainbridge and Ithaca. While absent the accident to his little boy happened. He was away for six weeks in some instances. He had his long rides, his preaching and his studies all to attend to, and two famous controversialists to look after. One was a Unitarian and the other a Universalist. Then was his first appearance in print, and he was forced into that controversy against his will ; but with ease he de- molished Marsh, and the man left to return no more. Next, our hero turns up in the town of Ox- ford, and a great revival swept over the village. Skeptical men came to the altar in tears, leading citizens surrendered. On one of his trips to Oxford , he took his wife in a carriage, and on returning he met a terrible snowstorm in Owego. In that place he went to work and constructed a sleigh, a rough one, and not cushioned or painted. Here his mechan- ical knowledge came into good use. This sleigh lasted until the snow disappeared, and then procur- ing another carriage he managed to get home and get his family home. After two years on the dis- trict he was changed to Wyoming Circuit. Then it was that Wilkesbarre began to try to stand alone as a circuit, and George Peck was inaugurated as pastor. He moved into a little old house on Frank- 110 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. lin Street, near where the Harvey building now stands, and Kingston was left to other shepherds. When the year closed Conference came to Wilkes- barre, and Presbyterians and Methodists opened their houses and hearts to entertain the traveling men. But the brotherly love which prevailed be- tween the denominations came near being annihi- lated by an ill-timed sermon against the Calvinists and their doctrines. This was felt keenly by the Presbyterians, and no wonder. The preachers were their guests, and they looked for at least civil treat- ment. But those were feudal days, and blows were given and taken. The next Conference elected delegates, and the General Conference convened in Pittsburg. The session was not very tedious nor exciting. Bishop Soule came near being reprimanded, if not more, for having preached a sermon which some thought savored of a new theology. The matter was finally settled by saving the bishop but condemning his sermon. George Peck wound up his affairs in Wilkesbarre at the end of the year, and at the ses- sion of the Conference went to Utica again, thence to Cazenovia. Then a serious fit of sickness laid him aside, but after long waiting he recovered. Elected to the General Conference for another term he made his first speech in that body. It was in favor of building pewed churches, but the change failed for want of votes. But the pews have come somehow without the votes of that General Con- ference. Next came a move to Auburn. Before the year closed a great revival followed his advent to Auburn, and this was followed by a move at Rev. George Peck, D.D. Ill Conference to Cazenovia Seminary as principal of that new high school, which he had been chiefly instrumental in founding. Here his powers in administration were needed, and they were shown not to be wanting. He was wise in counsel, quick in execution. An infidel student who undertook in a seminary essay to bring Christianity into dis- repute was ordered to stop in his reading, and did. He was ordered to leave his composition in the hands of the officers of the school. This he re- fused. Then the trustees voted his expulsion, and he was ordered to leave the next day by nine o'clock, and that order he promptly obeyed. He was told emphatically that he could not insult Christianity in a school founded by a religious body, and the Oneida Conference was such a body. The principal of the school was an instructor of the classes in the Hebrew language. He was a teacher also in intellectual and moral philosophy, logic, and rhetoric, managed the financial affairs of the institution, preached one sermon each Sunday for the pastor in town, and did some studying on his own account. There were two George Pecks in the school as students, one a nephew and the other the son whose neck had been perforated by cold steel several years before. Both these young men were named after him, and he was not yet forty years of age. I, a mere boy, was in Cazenovia, and ate at the table of the principal of the high school, and slept under his roof, played with the younger children, Helen and Luther W. We walked out in the evening after supper, and Helen sang a solo in the streets, as follows: 112 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. " Clear the kitchen, old folks, young folks, Old Virginia never tires," etc. We boiled molasses candy and ate it, and in that I was the equal of my cousin, but in everything else I was a little too rustic. I went to my Brackle home in tears because I could not play barnball with Luther any more. While in this school the whole family of George Peck was seriously assailed with disease, and the physician advised them to take a trip South. So the principal sent in a request to be released, and preparations were made for departure to the sunny land. The three children were left in Cazenovia. They could go on with their studies under the in- struction and government of Hanford Colburn. The father, mother, and infant son departed with some misgivings and with some hope. They went by stage to Syracuse, and then touched Auburn and Ithaca, then Owego. On the way they heard a mar- velous sermon from W. W. Ninde, whose son is now bishop. From Owego they made their way to Wyoming Valley, and after a little rest in the old home at Forty Fort they embarked on a packet canal boat at Wilkesbarre and moved down the wild Susquehanna. At Northumberland they were delayed long enough so that the travelers visited the tomb of Joseph Priestley, who discovered oxy- gen gas. He had died the 16th of February, 1804. The travelers found their way to Hollidaysburg and there met John P. Durbin. Then they struck Pittsburg and went by boat to Louisville, Ky., where he preached twice on the Sabbath. Then the next stop was Nashville, Tenn., and the drum- Rev. George Peck, D.D. 113 mer boy of other days, the blacksmith's son, found his way to the Hermitage, where he found Andrew Jackson at home. Jackson had then retired from the White House and given place to Martin Van Buren. Jackson wore his many honors meekly, and the minister sat down by his side, and they talked together as friend with friend. The ex-President invited him to remain with him until the next day, and he accepted. They talked over old political contests, and most likely " on the square," for my earliest recollections of party politics were of Jack- son men and antimasons. Three weeks were spent in Nashville, and that was as far South as they went. We do not wonder that the parents thought often of that group of children in the far North, watching and waiting for their return. They started homeward feeling that the journey had been help- ful to them in many ways. A slow, tedious jour- ney brought them to Wilkesbarre. I remember reading the story of this trip on the Ohio in the old Christian Advocate in my father's house in my Brackle home. The Oneida Conference met in Norwich, Che- nango County, N. Y. At this Conference George Peck was appointed Presiding Elder of Susque- hanna District, and again elected a delegate to the legislative body. He had already developed tre- mendous powers, and the drummer boy was out of his boyhood, a little past forty years old. He had preached alongside of the greatest men in the Church, here or in England, and did not suffer in the comparison. He had preached and spoken from the same platform and pulpits as had echoed with 8 114 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. the impassioned oratory of Stephen Olin and the polished rhetoric of Wilbur Fisk, and though younger than either he was considered a full equal, while in counsel his opinions were more sought after than theirs. He was also an educator of the highest grade, while as a patriot he took no back seat for any living man. About the year 1843 I g°t hold of a little printed book containing in full a Fourth of July oration of his published by request of the best men in the town where the ora- tion was delivered. It seems to me it was Caze- novia. I committed one page of the oration to memory, and it commenced as follows: "And though America has no one of her fair daughters elevated upon a throne of royalty," and so on, and something about her " fair hand " given to some document that would send a man to the gallows or the block or the guillotine. Then followed a very fine eulogy on American women. In a few months from that time I attended a mass meeting of the Sons of Temperance in Dorranceton, in the Pres- byterian church, and a prominent Wilkesbarre lawyer made the oration, and along in the body of his masterly speech he recited this same passage from George Peck's Fourth of July oration, and I, perhaps, was the only one in the large audience that noticed the quotation, and certainly never mentioned it from that day to this. The old church is now gone and the lawyer is gone, and George Peck's body rests in the Forty Fort cemetery near the spot where he married his wife, and I am left to place on paper some estimate of his work and worth. The Wilkesbarre orators, both at the bar Rev. George Peck, D.D. 115 and in the pulpit, and the judges of court took him into their circles as an equal. Sharp D. Lewis, a long-time editor and justice of the peace, was glad to have the friendship of the minister, and he was just as glad to have his. In these less mature days of his ministry he was reckoned a full-grow r n man. After returning from his Southern trip and his fifth election to the General Conference, he hastened to Cazenovia to greet his children and to inform them that they were going to move to fair Wyoming, and they danced in glee. Then came the hurried pack- ing up, the youthful good-bys to schoolmates, and soon the move was accomplished. At Grandfather Myers's they could play upon the old hearthstone and watch the slow-moving waters of the river, and see plainly the historic Monocanock Island, where bloody tragedies were enacted sixty-one years be- fore. Then a move to their mother's house on their own land at the foot of the West Mountain, where grew the old chestnut tree and the rich fruit in the old orchard. But the home joys must be left to the mother and children. The Quarterly Meetings made their continued demand upon the father. Even in these busy days, with honors heaped upon him, he sat for hours at the feet of William Reddy, one of his preachers, and learned the Chris- tian perfection which he experienced and spread upon the pages of his book w r ith that title. He found Major Dixon over on the Delaware River, heard his prayers and exhortations, and pronounced him a very remarkable man, and they became at once fast friends. Major Dixon was for years a prominent man in legislative affairs in the State, 116 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. and always brought back his moral character and Christian zeal from the capital, and that is more than can be said of some. That very year, 1839, Grandmother Peck died. I remember distinctly the letter that came to my father at his Brackle home, and the wording of it was thus : u Dearly Beloved Brother: " This must be the bearer of heavy tidings. Our dear mother is no more." " J. T. Peck." George Peck paused long enough in his reforma- tory work to make this record as to his mother, who once sat in my father's home by the chamber door — sat and sung. She was a true mother in Israel. " Kind and conciliatory, with a strong and victorious faith. She cared for the sick and poor, and sought diligently the wandering, the discour- aged, and the reckless." Dr. Erastus Wentworth was present at the death of Grandmother Peck, and drew with his pencil the likeness which is found in this volume. The whole scene and sur- roundings he described long afterward, as follows: " Sacred music is appropriate to the chamber of death. At that hour, when worldly concerns have receded, when it is almost profanation to converse above a whisper, the sacred song ' may stir the brooding air/ Years ago I stood by the deathbed of a mother in Israel — a venerable servant of God. In other days a leader of sacred song, was waiting to close the eyes of the companion of his youth. The breeze of an autumnal evening rustled the drapery of the open window, but besides this there Rev. George Peck, D.D. 117 was no sound save the deep breathing of the aged sufferer. Suddenly the soft, silvery, tremulous voice of the white-haired veteran fell upon the ear: " 1 Give joy or grief, give ease or pain, Take life or friends away ; But let me find them all again In that eternal day/ " I fancied that the dying saint listened to the music of two worlds, and listening, smiled and died." The same Erastus Wentworth came to Dickin- son College, when I was in school there, as one of the professors, and while there his wife died, and we laid her in the narrow house. I remember the next Sunday that he took any part in the pulpit of the Methodist church in Carlisle, he read the hymn, " On Jordan's stormy banks I stand, and cast," etc. When Professor Wentworth came to the lines : " No chilling winds, or poisonous breath, Can reach that healthful shore ; Sickness and sorrow, pain and death, Are felt and feared no more ; " at the word ' death ' his voice faltered and he nearly broke down. George Peck makes a record in his journal of some financial dissatisfaction. His receipts from the district for the year were only three hundred dollars, and his house over back of the marsh needed repairs ; and right then offers came from two or three directions to take charge of literary institutions ; but he hastened away to Baltimore to General Conference, and there heard Dr. Newton preach to an immense multitude from the piazza of Barnum's Hotel, in Monument Square. Dr. Newton was a delegate from the Wesleyan Church in England. 118 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. In the same square he listened to Henry Clay speak to an immense crowd in advocacy of the elec- tion of General William Henry Harrison for Presi- dent. He heard Graves, from Kentucky, in the same line. He had been notorious in a duel, in which he killed a man — maybe Cilly. He at the same place also heard Daniel Webster in behalf of Harrison and the Whigs. He admired the oratory of Webster. George Peck was the originator and the first moving spirit in the founding of Wyoming Seminary. " One evening in the latter part of Oc- tober, 1839, h e delivered an address in the old church at Forty Fort on the subject of education, in which he advanced the idea that a Methodist seminary was needed in the Wyoming Valley, and that Kingston furnished as good a location as could be found for such an institution." (See Life and Times of George Peck, page 214.) This was three years prior to the Conference resolutions on the subject. He went to the General Conference in the midst of the Tippecanoe and Tyler too cam- paign, when all other interests were postponed, and all other noises were drowned in the political earth- quake. While in the Church the muttering thun- der of antislavery began to roll along the Northern horizon, and in the General Conference the matter could not be passed by without some notice. In the year 1840 George Peck was appointed on the Committee on Slavery, and he was elected secretary of the committee. He was appointed on the Com- mittee on Pastoral Address, and the committee appointed him to write it, and it went to the Church as he wrote it, and it went upon the journal Rev. George Peck, D.D. 119 without revision and no name attached to it — not credited to him. This showed that the great legis- lative body had the highest confidence in his wisdom. From this Conference he goes home only to gather up his family effects and move to the city of New York. He had learned to love the Wy- oming Valley home ; so had the wife and children, but he with no hesitation moved to the city and commenced his work as Editor of the Quarterly Re- view, The highest literary organ of the Church was committed to the charge of the boy of old Gen- esee Conference. It may not be remarkable that the Review did not die in the hands of the new editor, yet it is all true that other periodicals in the Church have been able to go on for some years quite prosperously, and lie down quietly in their little grave. What has become of the National Maga- zine, which started out with such a flourish of trumpets ? And where is that publication that used to greet us every month, called the Ladies* Repository ? The truth is that the Quarterly Re- view assumed a more commanding position during those years than it ever had held before, and when John McClintock took charge as editor it held a position in the Church very like the old Edinburgh Review across the sea, though much younger. The names of Peck, McClintock, and Whedon will live as long on fame's bright page as any name which ever adorned the Scotch thunderer ; and even now very few people can give the names of any of those editors. Maybe some men who have been extensive readers would think of Henry Brougham. Yet he 120 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. would have been forgotten long ago if it had not been for the lampooning he gave Lord Byron, and the worse one he got back. As to the other editors of that ultramarine Review, most people will have to resort to the cyclopedias before they can pro- nounce their names. The Methodist Quarterly Review, and indeed all our Church periodicals, and the Church itself, were coming right into the midst of quaking mountains and uneasy rocks, and the foundations were beginning to shake, and crevices gaped in the walls that surrounded us, while the keel of the Ship of State showed signs of straining to leave its fastenings. It w r as absolutely neces- sary to have men at the head of the Church period- icals who would not lose their heads nor their hearts when the shock should come. The North and the South already were forming their lines for the contest. The Genesee delegate entered the arena, and Dr. Thomas E. Bond met him face to face ; the contest for Editor of the Quarterly was close, yet George Peck was elected. Bond was from the South, and Peck from the North. Then without much trouble Dr. Bond was elected Editor of The Christian Advocate. Then the old Advocate became the thunderer, the organ of the Methodist Episcopal Church North, South, East, and West. These two leading editors were good friends, and grew to love each other like brothers, both warm supporters of Andrew Jack- son. George Peck went to the General Conference with " no aspirations in editorial direction ; his mind was the establishment of a seminary in the Wy- oming Valley. He had had some experience in Rev. George Peck, D.D. 121 the management of an institution of that kind, and some taste for the work of a teacher/' (See Life of George Peck, page 229.) While Editor of the Quarterly he became a member of the New York Conference,without a transfer, by the law of the Dis- cipline. He went to work, however, just as earnestly in a strange Conference as he had worked with the men among whom he was born and converted, and with whom he entered the ministry. His work was to edit the Review, and edit everything else that needed editing, except the old Advocate. He was put upon a plan to preach regularly in the city and in Brooklyn, and in a few months his health failed again. But the strifes of those days are matters of record. There arose in the West a star of the first magnitude. Henry B. Bascom attracted wide attention. Tall, good looking, eloquent, powerful. I once heard the wife of Charles B. Tippett say that she had heard Bascom preach on the "days of Noah. " She declared that in his flights and vivid descrip- tions she could see the rising waters as they sur- rounded the wicked people, and at the close the vast audience was more than spellbound. This man was a prime mover in the secession of the Southern wing of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and he and George Peck met as contending cham- pions for the two wings of Methodism. The leading men of the Church, such as Nathan Bangs, Charles Elliot, and Tobias Spicer, would stand aside for him to measure lances with Bascom. Pam- phlets were issued by both, which speak for them- selves. The world will consent to-day that Bas- com was nowhere in the hands of the rising giant 122 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. from the Genesee territory. One was fiery, elo- quent, and dealt in pathos ; while the other was calm and logical, and his arguments were such that they surrounded him like walls of adamant. The contest was mainly to see which side would hold the border States. The side that carried the old Baltimore and Philadelphia Conferences would be the stronger. Our editors in those stormy days detested slavery, and the wonder was to a great many how they could hold on to the border Con- ference and maintain their consciences. George Peck was working all the time to hold the Church together, and, if there must be a secession, it should be as small a one as possible. He never denounced the slaveholders, nor did he denounce the abolition- ists. Others did, and wondered why he did not, and maybe were afflicted with him because he did not. Looking back to those days now, I can see plainly that his position was the proper one. Not that he stretched his conscience to save the Church, nor to wink at evil that good may come, but to save the t border churches, and keep them in our communion for the sake of the nine tenths of their membership who held no slaves. And that was a success. Look at the result to-day. The old Church stands head and shoulders above her rebel- lious sister in wealth and power and conscience. Old Baltimore Conference is one of our mightiest Conferences, and when Alfred Griffith, John A. Collins, Richard Brown, N. J. B. Morgan, and J. M. Reiley were leaders its territory took in a large part of Pennsylvania, all of Maryland, and reached way down into Virginia, and took in Wash- Rev. George Peck, D.D. 123 ington, the capital city. I went into Maryland in 1852, and, being so soon after the division, the strifes were running high. I boarded a year in the home of a slaveholder, and kept a good conscience all the time. The man was a local preacher. We met in Quarterly Conference together, and he was the only member of that Quarterly Conference that held slaves, and though I detested slavery I main- tained a conscience void of offense. Nobody brought charges against the local preacher, and I certainly did not. I thus kept my head on my shoulders, and that fact has been a great help to me all my life. He took The Richmond Christian Advocate, edited by Leroy M. Lee, and he was spiteful, and during those days had a mock funeral over George Peck. " Here lies a peck of dust." But the Church, North, was then sending its preachers all through Baltimore and all through Washing- ton, and way down into the Old Dominion, and that was one thing that made Lee so spiteful. The strong border Conferences marched under the old flag. These border Conferences were worth saving to us, as the sequel shows. Not because it saved to us the few slaveholders in them, but because of the nine tenths of members and all the preachers who held no slaves. If I or anyone else in that Quarterly Conference had preferred charges against Brothers Water — mine host, the local preacher — we would have been nonsuited by two separate pleas: One, that the laws of the State would not recognize the emancipation ; and the other plea, that he bought Isaac at an auction to keep him from being sold South, thus being parted from his wife Re- 124 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. becca. His wife did our cooking in the kitchen. In case of a Church trial on that indictment the prosecutor would have been nonsuited by the ad- ministration, and maybe he would have been dis- charged from the official board, if not from the country. I listened more than I talked when the question of slavery was up. The wife of Brother Waters was a Gorsuch, a sister of Rev. John Gor- such, and also that Gorsuch who was nearly killed in Lancaster on his trip up into Pennsylvania to capture his escaped slaves. A mob of slaves fired upon Gorsuch, and he rushed, bleeding, away from the scene, and made his way back to Maryland. Out of that little unpleasantness grew a trial for treason before Judge Grier, and John W. Forney was one of the counsel. Sister Waters was terribly mad always when the question came up, when she would remark that her poor brother would carry the bullets of those wicked Negroes in his body to the grave. She always treated me as kindly as a mother could treat a child, and when I left for my first charge in the Wyoming Conference we parted in the best of friendship. I once heard while there one of the Baltimore preachers make this remark, " Lee is a great liar." This referred to Leroy M. Lee, of The Richmond Christian Advocate. I told Sister Waters of the remark, and she sighed deeply, and said that it had come to a strange pass when ministers would call each other liars. The funeral over George Peck was certainly premature. True we lost some preachers in the extreme North, and we lost some on the border. My pastor, the eloquent and gifted Dabney Ball, was a chaplain Rev. George Peck, D.D. 125 in Lee's army at Gettysburg. But the masses of the preachers and members of the Baltimore Conference stood by us all along through the dark days of the re- bellion, and we very much needed them. The war might have resulted quite differently if the Church line between North and South had run this side of Washington, along through the center of Pennsyl- vania. Lincoln could not certainly then have said, " The Methodist Church sends more soldiers to the army and more prayers to heaven than any other." George Peck came near being elected bishop in 1844. Yet both the men elected never hesitated to admit that he was their equal in scholarship, oratory, legislative wisdom, and administrative abil- ity. He had more to do with all the legislation of the Church than any bishop can have. He was Editor of the Review eight years and The Christian Advocate four years. There was as much thunder in the " thunderer " during those four years as there ever was before or ever has been since, and there was a fair degree of lightning, especially for those times. His name and writings will last as long as those of Daniel Curry, or Bishop Simpson, or Thomas E. Bond, or Nathan Bangs, or John P. Durbin, and I have been always an enthusiastic admirer of all these men, and so was he. His his- tory of Wyoming is as wonderful and thrilling as Stevens's History of Methodism and his Early Methodism, and his other works will be quoted among men while the world stands. His trip across the ocean needs a passing notice. He was trying hard to hold the Baltimore men steady to the Church, and yet he had not lost his hold upon 126 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. the affections of his old Northern bodyguard. Oneida and Black River Conferences elected him to represent them in the Evangelical Alliance to meet in London. He went, and had a grand opportu- nity to see the working of Protestantism the world over. Indeed, his great success in life has grown out of his careful observation of men, their mode of expressing thought, their reformatory plans and execution. He learned as much in this way as he ever did from books, still he read all the books he could. His traveling companions across the ocean were President Robert Emory, of Dickinson Col- lege, and Professor Caldwell, Dr. Roberts, of Balti- more, Dr. John Kennedy, of Philadelphia, and George Webber, of Maine. They observed on board William Lloyd Garrison with a copy of the Wandering Jew under his arm. They had some- what of a shipwreck and a fright, but went on with a leak in their steamer, and on the fifteenth day arrived in Liverpool. They went to Bristol and saw the Wesleyan Conference in session there. Dr. Bunting was the leader of the conservatives and Beaumont of the progressives, both powerful deba- ters. There was more noisy approval in the Eng- lish Conference than prevailed in the body at home. They saw the old chapel built by Wesley, heard Stanley Rowland and Beaumont and Atherton. They went from Bristol to Ireland, preached in Dublin, and attended service in St. Patrick's Cathe- dral. They visited the museum, the Bank, the old House of Lords, the University, and the castle. They saw the Greek manuscript of the New Testa- ment, of unknown age, yet of high authority. They Rev. George Peck, D.D. 127 had an interview with the great Liberator, Daniel O'Connell, and were invited into his study, after giving assurance that they were not slaveholders. O'Connell had on a green blouse. He was proud to be visited by such distinguished gentlemen from America. They left the great man and crossed Loch Lomond and slept all night at the head of the lake. Then they went to Glasgow, then to Edinburgh, saw a sunset from Arthur's seat, vis- ited the home of John Knox, visited Holy Rood, the old palace of Mary Queen of Scots, saw the queen's private room, her bed and chairs, Lord Darnley's boots and spurs, and spots of blood from the murdered Rizzio. They went to Melrose, saw the ruins of the ancient abbey by twilight, six hun- dred years old, and the grave of Sir Walter Scott ; sat in his chair, leaned upon his desk, saw Rob Roy's gun and Scott's suit of tweed, also his spade, hoe, and pruning knife. Then they went to New- castle-upon-Tyne on a rainy day. They went to York, and from there to Chesterfield. Then went to London ; there they saw Dr. Stephen Olin. De- voted eight days to sight-seeing. George Peck was entertained by Edward Corderoy, Esq., and there remained through the sessions of the Alli- ance. He was a Methodist. At the bishop's pal- ace he saw the portraits of all the Archbishops of Canterbury, ascended the tower, and went into the prison of the Lollards. There the followers of Wyclif were incarcerated ; whence some went to the scaffold and some to flames. There they saw the rings to which those persecuted people were chained. Westminster Abbey was a place of 128 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. absorbing interest to him. The names of Shakes- peare, Milton, Gray, Dryden, Goldsmith, and Spen- ser are here sculptured, and in this is the old throne, an oaken chair with high-pointed back. Shakespeare stands there with his index ringer pointing up to a quotation from " The Tempest." That quotation is chiseled in the marble as follows : ° And like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, And like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a reck behind." The marble walls and columns already begin to show signs of the waste of centuries. There they saw the oblong stone which served for the throne of Scotch kings, and served also for a pillow for Jacob's head when he was on his way to Padan-aram. In the tower the visitors saw Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth on horses, clad in the armor of their century. The crown is there which was placed upon the head of Victoria at her coronation. There they saw the block on which royal heads were amputated, and marks and cuts in the block by the ax when the fatal blow was struck. But this sight-seeing must be given up for the con- vening of the Alliance. This was the greatest gath- ering of Christians in history, not excepting the Council of Nice. It met in Freemason's Hall, Au- gust 19, 1846. George Peck was always careful about dates. This appeared in his first public speech. " Two weeks ago last Thursday God con- verted my soul." How much more satisfactory Rev. George Peck, D.D. 129 this is than to get off the proverbial " once upon a time ! V There were nine hundred delegates in conference ; Sir Culling Eardley Smith presided. The United States sent seventy, of whom seventeen were from the Methodist Episcopal Church. There were two camp meeting boys ; one of them was the same who slept under a brush fence and had his sack of din- ner spoiled by rain. John Dempster and George Peck were in counsel with John Angell James, Dr. Wardlaw, Hon. and Rev. Baptiste W. Noel, Horace Binney, Howard Hinton, Edward Bickersteth, Dr. Reffles, Dr. Bunting, Adolph Monad, and the Amer- icans like Stephen Olin and Erskine Mason. Demp- ster had found room to " crawl in with the boys." In one of their social gatherings Tobias Spicer made a remark to one of the Englishmen that came near resulting in bloodshed, but George Peck, as- sisted by others, settled the matter after two efforts. He was always a peacemaker. A party of close friends headed by Corderoy, the kind host, went to interview Hampton Court, which was erected by Cardinal Wolsey. They went into the cardinal's room and read the mottoes in colored glass. In the grounds was seen a grapevine seventy- eight years old and " covering twenty-two hundred square feet. ,, Dempster and Peck made the responses to the farewell speeches when the Alliance broke up. They had in their deliberations inaugurated " The Week of Prayer," to be observed the world over the first week in January every year as time goes on. These traveling Americans made a hasty trip to 9 130 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. France and looked through Paris, walked through its picture galleries, saw the Gothic towers of a church built before printing was invented, or the revolutions of the earth were known. They saw the table on which Napoleon I wrote his abdica- tion, and there were plainly to be seen marks made with a penknife by the great captain while in the agonies of disappointment. They went into the room occupied by Napoleon and Josephine while she was his wife. They saw the Notre Dame, the Chamber of Deputies, the Louvre, and garden of plants, the Pantheon, and the Church of St. Gene- vieve. Here lie buried Voltaire, Mirabeau, and Rousseau. In the chapel of the Hotel des Inval- ides " sleep the ashes of the great Napoleon. M They saw the curious bed of Louis Phillippe. Half of it soft down and the other half a plank, the plank for himself to rest upon. They went to the forest of Versailles. There Louis XVII and his queen were arrested and carried in a cart to perish beneath the guillotine. Leaving Fontainebleau and then Paris, the company passed through Bel- gium and Waterloo and came to Cologne on the Rhine. At Weisfaden they remained over Sab- bath and ate a long dinner, two hours long. Brother Peck was here reminded of the old Middle- field drum corps ; a band played music during the dinner. From this place of rest and refreshment they went to Rotterdam, ascended the tower, and saw The Hague, Delft, and Dort ; sailed from that place to Blackwell and then went to London and Liverpool, then away to Boston and New York, reaching home Saturday, October 3. Rev. George Peck, D.D. 131 At the close of his editorial career, which was a grand success and lasted twelve years, he pursued his studies, writing, reading, and careful observa- tion. He was sociable and companionable. Per- sons are living to-day who very vividly remember his sermons of years ago and quote them in detail and many of the circumstances. The most mar- velous effect of any sermon ever heard by the people in Wyoming Valley was of one preached by him in the old church which stood on the square in Wilkesbarre. It was back in the year 1839. He preached one evening on the Last Judgment, and a great crowd of people of different classes and tastes were present, and the minister was then in the possession of all his best powers. The old gallery was crowded all around the auditorium. In the midst of the closing up portions of the discourse the effect became so marked that some began to mourn and cry, some kneeled down and began to pray, when all at once there was a general cry for mercy and pardon ; people rushed to the front and kneeled down, some fell upon their faces. One who was there declares that the scene was over- whelming. She herself cried and shrieked at the top of her voice, and it looked as though a great light had flashed from the pulpit like an awful search light thrown upon the audience, filling the whole body of the church and revealing the secrets of every soul present. The noise of penitential prayer was universal, and the praying men and women bent low to get a grasp upon the cross. The tramp of the Almighty Saviour seemed to be making the earth quake. Five seats full of penitents bowed 132 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. their faces low in the dust, and an almost breathless crowd looked down from the old galleries. Until long past midnight conversions followed each other, and the shouts of victory hardly died away when the next day appeared. The homes of the people be- came places of prayer and song. The next night Dayton F. Reed preached, and the revival went on with great power and success. This revival was a marked occasion in the annals of the old Wilkes- barre society, and yet it has been left to a young convert, who was there on that awful night and was converted among the rest, to give me these details and tell me what part George Peck took in the meeting. They tell of an old church down South where John P. Durbin once preached on the Judg- ment, and the effect was such the people rushed to the doors and windows, screaming and crying and demolishing sash and glass in their rage to get away. I have no doubt of this since I have heard this story from the lips of the faithful and aged sister who was then a little girl. She told a man when she started for church that night that she was going to get religion. I look into the Minutes of the old Oneida Con- ference for that year and find Wilkesbarre credited with one hundred and fifty members, George Peck, presiding elder ; David Holmes, pastor. The next report gave Wilkesbarre credit for over three hundred members, so there is not any question about the whole thrilling narrative. This good lady says David Holmes was the pastor and Day- ton F. Reed was the evangelist. I was in that old church myself at the Conference four years later Rev. George Peck, D.D. 133 when Uncle George was Editor of the Quarterly Re- view and lived in New York. He came up to his old Conference and was announced to preach on Sunday morning at eight o'clock. My father and mother were in the audience. The old green cur- tain hung up in the pulpit, and when Uncle George arose he looked weak and pale, but his voice was full and strong as he announced his first hymn ; and lo, it was an old hymn that I had so often heard in my home on the old Brackle road. " O, tell me no more of this world's vain store The time for such trifles with me now is o'er." I was really glad to hear the hymn and supposed of course that the same old tune would be sung, but the choir sang another tune called Lyons. The text was, " Seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight," etc. I overheard men say that the sermon was the equal of that one preached at 10.30 by Dr. Stephen Olin in the same pulpit. In the afternoon of that day I followed the crowd of people up to the grove and heard John McClintock preach on Perfect Love. Elias Bowen led the singing. " O love divine, how sweet thou art ! When shall I find my willing heart All taken by thee ? " Another old tune made the woods ring. I heard Uncle George exhort on the camp ground in the year 1854. The effect was marvelous; ministers, old and young, sat in the stand and sobbed like children, and could not help it. Some nearly wilted to the floor. The trees seemed to be moved as 134 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. by a breeze from heaven. The meeting had gone along until then without very much enthusiasm, and yet the preachers had done their best and there had been a good amount of praying and singing and some conversions, yet the old veteran seemed to be longing for the return of ancient and sancti- fying power such as he could remember. Then bursting out in strains like these : " Where is the power that thrilled in the hearts of our fathers and mothers? Have we fallen upon such evil times that we must drag along on the cold level of for- mality ? O, I trust not. True, the voice of Darius Williams rings no more in the forests and in the churches, and we hear no more the voice of Benja- min Bidlack nor the shouts of the mothers in Israel who sleep under the sod, but the God of our fathers has not gone to sleep, and he is very near us if we can only apprehend him by faith. O rouse you, my brethren. Are there not prayerful hearts here to-day? Where is Betsy Locke and Penelope Baldwin and Mother Lee and Auntie Pierce and Hannah Slocum? We can't afford to trail the old banner along and march with inverted arms and bowed heads and the enemy laughing at our dead formality. No, no ! A few more valiant charges on the enemy and the victory will be ours; then we can lay down our armor and rest while others shall take our places, but never let us go to sleep in our tents while we can hear the commands of the enemy and sinners are tramping on toward their doom. We must have the victory on these camp grounds or the foe will rejoice over spoils that he will win among our friends and children. Rev. George Peck, D.D. 135 for an all-conquering faith to take hold upon God ! O for prayer, united prayer, such as Jacob had when he wrestled all night with the angel ! I can now hear the footsteps of him who trod the winepress alone for us. Reach, O reach a hand to touch his garment, and we shall feel the healing power all over this ground." These were the words, and a great many more like them which would come from his lips and every- one who heard them would feel sure that they came from the depths of his heart. Indeed, his oratory was powerful because his whole soul breathed in it. There was an honest man back of it. Such oratory has helped to achieve victories, to found churches. 1 have listened to his masterly sermons on dedica- tion days that would sweep everything before them. Stations and circuits all over this region of country have been built up by him. When he went to Scranton it was a weak, helpless mission, and had a congregation of a dozen or a score. It grew under his fostering care, and people began to come in to hear the preaching. A revival swept through the town. To-day Scranton is one of the grandest churches in the whole country, and last year raised three thousand dollars missionary money. George Peck had been officially connected with it in some way from its very beginning until his death ; then his sons and grandsons carried the banner. Dr. Peck always had a heart for the missionary work of the Church, and during the years of the war he got a resolution through the Wyoming District Lyceum to make a desperate effort to raise one thousand dollars in the district for the missionary 136 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. cause, and in 1864 the amount of one thousand four hundred dollars was reached. Last year Scranton itself raised the princely sum of three thousand dollars, and the whole district over twelve thousand. The Wyoming Seminary was first started at his suggestion ; he made the first announcement of the possibility of it and was connected with it until his death, and the proud position that it occupies now in the educational world is mainly due to him ; this in no way diminishes the honors which have been universally accorded to Reuben Nelson, the first principal, the masterly orator, the grand in- structor, and the unrivaled organizer. Nor does it detract from the honor accorded to the officers whose work has been so available in making Wyo- ming Seminary what it is to-day. George Peck had a noble brother-in-law who gave the land on which the seminary stands. The name of Thomas Myers will live in the hearts of the people here as long as the seminary shall live, and the seminary shall live as long as there lives an alumnus who went out from those classic walls. George Peck was the originator of the first course of study prescribed by the General Conference for traveling preachers, so say men that were " inside." He has had to do with all the legislation that has been enacted in the Church for more than fifty years ; indeed, he was elected to thirteen General Conferences in succession from 1824 to 1872, and he was present at all those sessions and remained until the close of each. He went as delegate to five General Conferences after the mock funeral Rev. George Peck, D.D. 137 that was held over his demise by Leroy M. Lee, of The Richmond Christian Advocate. He attended five family gatherings, at each of which the five brothers were present in good health, and at the last one he preached a power- ful sermon on "Their strength is to sit still." That 'was in the University Methodist Episcopal Church, Syracuse. He was then eighty years old. He had a family gathering at his own home in Scranton in connection with the fiftieth anniversary of his wed- ding, and Mary Myers, the bride, was there, and all his brothers were living and were all there in good health and able to stand upon their feet, as a photo- graph will show taken as they stood in a row in the pulpit of the Adam's Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church. These five men, after they had worn hon- ors in the Church and grown old in their work, would meet at their family gatherings and borrow drums and fifes and resurrect their drum corps serenades which made the welkin ring when they were boys. The reminiscences which we heard during those family visits were exhilarating in the midst of everyday life. But I ought to close this chapter ; I have no heart to. This recital was not to round out the life of George Peck. It shines on the pages of recorded history. Who can show a better record or a work more enduring or more valuable? The commencement the most unprom- ising possible, the environments the least encoura- ging possible, yet the achievement the greatest pos- sible. In the family Bible, published by Clement C. Butler, of Philadelphia, I find the names of the 138 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. great leaders of religious thought. The likenesses of many of them appear in said Bible, in connec- tion with the movements of the age in which each lived. There we see John Bunyan, Cotton Mather, Augustine of Canterbury, Archbishop Cranmer, William Penn, Martin Luther, Henry Muhlenberg, William White, Baron Emanuel Swedenborg, John Knox, Thornton Kirkland, George Peck, John P. Durbin, Stephen Olin, Matthew Simpson, William the Silent, and James Oglethorpe. Now I ask, can greater names be found in the history of the world ? The volume of sermons preached by Dr. Peck during the War of the Rebellion is one of which every lover of his country may be proud. He stood by the flag while it was insulted and shot down. He was in close relation and fellowship with Presi- dent Lincoln, Parson W. G. Brownlow, of Tennes- see, Granville Moody, Daniel S. Dickinson, Wil- liam H. Seward, Peter Cartwright, and the war governors of these dark times, and they inspired each other. He was one of the committee appointed by the General Conference of 1864, which met in Phila- delphia, to convey to President Lincoln the sym- pathy of that body, and had for his associates, Joseph Cummings, Charles Elliot, Bishop Ames, and Granville Moody. They met the President by special arrangement in his official chamber, and were introduced by William H. Seward. The President was the impersonation of a careworn, weary man. The address and Lincoln's reply are matters of history. Grant was struggling in the wil- Rev. George Peck, D.D. 139 derness with the Southern legions confronting him, and this committee saw the hundreds of wounded and dying brought in on ambulances, bleeding and dying for their country. The President was crushed low to the earth to know that so many strong, brave, and uncomplaining men must go down to prema- ture death. No wonder Lincoln said with em- phasis and emotion when these stalwart men stood before him, " God bless the Methodist Church. " George Peck lived to see the country saved, free and united, and prosperity returning. For eleven recurring springs he had witnessed the fresh, sweet flowers laid upon the graves of those who sur- rendered their lives for their fatherland. While U. S. Grant was serving out the last year of his second term, and he had seen his brother Jesse an honored bishop in the Church which he had labored so long for and the family had loved so well, and after having seen two of his sons honored in the Church, he quietly breathed his life out and was gathered to his rest on the 20th of May, 1876. He was laid in the shadow of the old Forty Fort Church, close by the tomb of Benjamin Bidlack, and there rests his confiding wife and her ancestors, a few rods from the old broken hearth- stone where they pledged unchanging love to each other fifty-seven years before. 140 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. CHAPTER IV. Rev* Andrew Peck* THIS is another son of Luther Peck and Annis Collar Peck. If not the greatest son, the best, he was always good. He led his older brother George into the right way. He had a New Eng- land conscience of the strictest type. Though he belonged to the drum corps he never favored use- less noise. He was the check on the more noisy spirit of his brothers. He was the one of the five brothers who was always disinclined to deviltry. He would never hide and jump up suddenly to frighten children. He never would hurt a person nor a beast nor an insect. He never went fishing nor hunting on Sunday when he was a boy. He never robbed a bird's nest. He never went swim- ming on Sunday. He was really the reformer among the children. He stood number one in deportment. He never helped drive a school- master out of school. He would take blows rather than give them ; this could not be said of all his brothers. He was a peacemaker when a boy. He never rushed into useless danger; most boys will. The thinner the ice the nicer the skating is for the average boy. The deeper the water the better the swimming is for daring boys, especially if they can- not swim. He went on the idea that every gun is loaded, and so he never accidentally shot anybody. REV. ANDREW PECK. Rev. Andrew Peck. 141 He never studied how to play tricks on brothers or sisters or schoolmates. Andrew Peck kept up with the boys and kept step in the band, but always wanted to be sure where they were going and what they were going for. Like Jacob, he was the favorite in the home while Esau did the hunt- ing. He was named with a Bible name, the first boy so named in the family. If the mother wanted a willing hand to help she always found Andrew ready. He allowed the other brothers to dig the woodchucks, and, like Daniel Webster, would plead for the animal's life when one was captured. He had strength, but it was always used to help the weak. In all fights he would rather be counted out than counted in. He would go as far into danger as any of the boys if the venture was to save a life or quench a raging fire. He would have made a splendid physician or surgeon. He had a loving, sympathizing heart. He himself felt the pain that others felt, and it was very fortunate for this poor world that he came into it and lived and labored in it. Andrew Peck was born the first year of this cen- tury ; so the whole century, the great nineteenth century, has felt his impress along all the years. He commenced his work early. He was hardly in his teens when he gave his brother George the warning that brought him to repentance. That was the starting point of the mighty work that has been accomplished by these five brothers. Andrew could talk and sing and pray on the camp ground where Luther Hoyt, his oldest brother, was brought to see the danger of his condition and the great 142 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. remedy. He was born in the State of New York, and lived under all the governors of the State, from the very first to the very last — from George Clinton to David B. Hill. He never was a citizen of any other State or country for a day or an hour during his whole long life. He was a star preacher, but was like the north star rather than a flashing meteor or a blazing comet. Already the boyhood of Andrew Peck has been briefly noticed. He appeared at the camp ground, but he was not at the dog hanging at Cooperstown. If he had been like other small boys he would have been at the hanging, if not at the camp meeting. History does not acquaint us with the fact that he cried to go, and I doubt whether he did. Luther H. and George went. Andrew was eight years old when that dog was hung, and was just the age when boys are anxious to see everything that is going on, even the last dog suspended. So we judge Andrew Peck was a rare boy. We have seen how he lost his quart of milk to prove a point in philosophy, and by that loss gained the victory. His ministerial and domestic life must be noticed, and thus we find him soon after commencing to preach going back home with his brother George, and creating a great sensation in the neighborhood where they had spent much of their boyhood days. Both the drummer boys were going to preach, and everybody rushed out. He joined the Oneida Conference in 1818. He was then eighteen years of age. He was sent to Tioga as second preacher ; John Griffin was preacher in charge. The circuit was Owego and the region Rev. Andrew Peck. 143 round about. There was an increase in the mem- bership of nearly one hundred. At the end of the year he was sent to Ontario, way northwest beyond Seneca Lake, what would now be Canandaigua, to preach under the charge of William Snow. The third year he was in charge, with Robert Parker junior preacher. Then the next year he undertook Plattsburg alone, being only a deacon. This was not a very long move, but it was a great undertak- ing, and it showed that the authorities were not afraid to trust the young man anywhere. The next year he was sent to the northeast, and the next to Boston, with J. Copeland to assist him in building up a new charge. This was in the extreme western part of the State, in Erie County. Gleason Fillmore was his presiding elder, a brother of Mil- lard Fillmore, afterward President of the United States by the death of Zachary Taylor. During his stay in Boston he was married to Polly Hudson, who was a devoted wife and a grand help to him in his arduous undertakings. His next move was to the important station, Paris, or Sauquoit, where the Conference had been held, and where his brother George had been stationed. There his son Wesley was born, who is a member of the California Con- ference, and is a faithful, eloquent man of God. I saw him when in his young ministry in the same Conference to which his father belonged all his life. He was cheerful and zealous. He joined the itinerancy to do hard work, whether it brought wealth or honors or neither. The next year, 1823, Andrew Peck took charge of Chenango District as presiding elder. This 144 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. brought him into counsel with the mighty men of that country and of those years, such as John Dempster, George Garey, Josiah Keyes, Squire Chase, Horace Agard, Elias Bowen. His district covered the ground of his old home, where he was born, Middlefield, Cooperstown, and the old home in Brookfield, and the classic Hamilton, Norwich, and Oxford. The truth was he was the most pop- ular where he was the best known, yet the most meek and modest man that ever assumed the office of presiding elder. During this first year his wife died, and though the blow was a crushing one to him, he held up and went on with his work, and during his four years in the eldership he prayed and worked and preached eloquently and earnestly. His next station was East Hamilton, close to his old home, from which he started out at eighteen years of age. Then the next year he goes to Madison, and has W. W. White as junior preacher; next he has Madison alone. Then Smyrna and Plymouth were his fields of labor, with Lewis H. Stanley, the same who watched over my father so faithfully when he was so seriously hurt. From Smyrna he was sent to New Berlin, and had E. D. Higgins for his junior preacher. The two remained on that charge two years, which was the full term that any preacher could then remain. Then he was returned to Plymouth, and remained two years there. Ply- mouth had been made a charge by itself. His next move was to Chenango, with Rodney S. Rose for his junior. He had already seen his brother George and John Dempster elected to General Conference ; both were his chums on that wet camp Rev. Andrew Peck. 145 ground when the six slept in the same straw bed. He had attended the Oxford and the Wilkesbarre Conferences whereat the Wyoming Seminary had been founded. He remained at Chenango two years, with B. Ferris and William Silsbee for col- leagues. His next move was to Woodstock, near Cazenovia. Lyman A. Eddy was his presiding elder. Already he had given twenty-four years to the effective work of the ministry, and he felt his powers broken, and he was glad to step aside and give place to the young men who were ready to join the ranks and carry the banner forward. He had seen the one Conference which he joined twenty-five years before grow to three Conferences, with more than three times as many members as the one had then. He had seen, during that quar- ter of a century, the Church all over the United States grow from eleven Conferences to thirty-three Conferences, and the increase of membership had mounted up so that instead of two hundred and twenty-one thousand it amounted to more than one million one hundred thousand, and he had done his full share of the work. He had kept step with the drumbeat and kept up with the proces- sion. He had worked on small salaries without a murmur. He had seen his younger brother hon- ored with a seat in the General Conference. So while Mother Peck's " boys " were receiving all the honors that heart could wish, he retired from the more active duties of the ministry, and gathering his family into as comfortable a home as possible, undertook the distribution of Bibles. His son Wesley entered the Conference with a bright future 10 146 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. before him, and though smitten with disease when he retired from the itinerancy, his heart was in the work just as much as it ever was. Andrew Peck had his four brothers and all the relatives that he could get together at his neat little home in Cort- land for family reunions no less than twice and, I think, three times. The place seemed to be a para- dise. The garden, lawn, trees, and vines were re- ceiving the best attention, and to have his four brothers, all in health, with him, to sit at his table, to kneel in prayer together, and then, with conven- tionalities laid aside, to sit for a long evening and talk over other days. The old home in Middle- field, the old schoolmaster and his dunce block — what scenes of laughter we had ! Children and grandchildren were present. There I learned how little Jesse nearly choked to death trying to eat and cry at the same time. There I first learned that little Jesse had a tooth pulled. When Dr. George took from his pocket a letter which he had received from little Jesse and showed it to us with the great flourishes, the loud writing, the gran- diloquent wording, rhetorical and rounded periods, and then the immense signature, we all laughed till we cried. Uncle Jesse sat there and enjoyed it all quietly, remarking that he was small then and had not got his growth. At this gathering at Uncle Andrew's in Cortland I learned that those boys composed a band of music in their young days in old Middlefield. O how refreshing it is to un- bend occasionally and visit as members of the same family!* That place at Uncle Andrew's was a well- guarded home. Even the birds out in the garden Rev. Andrew Peck. 147 and on the sidewalk seemed to feel safe, and one could almost pick them up in the hand. The father had a longer time of home life than any of the brothers, except my father, and he appreciated it more than ever after he had had a quarter of a century of moving from place to place. There under his roof I first met his son, Elbert Andrew, who has become a prominent member of the Cen- tral New York Conference ; so he has a representa- tive in the itinerancy besides Wesley in California. While I was at that family gathering I sat up late at night and rose early in the morning. It was in the sweet spring days, and the robins would sing at the first sign of daylight. I wanted to hear every anecdote that was told at that family gath- ering. Yet I was sent out to hold a Quarterly Meeting on Sunday, and felt in a hurry to get back. I got to the church a little early, and while standing out on, the platform talking with the pas- tor a man handed him a two-dollar bill, remarking, half apologetically, that we are told to help an ox or an ass out of the ditch on the Sabbath day, and with that spirit the two dollars was given to the pastor, and he took it, and no doubt was glad to get the help. We went into the church and com- menced the love feast, had singing and prayer, and while the bread and water were being passed around one oldish brother, as he took the water to drink, took it as drinking health and spoke out, " Here is health to Abraham Lincoln/' This was in the summer of 1864, when party spirit was run- ning high, and Lincoln was especially popular in that part of the State. That speech in love feast 148 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. startled me, yet I overlooked it ; so did the pastor. Probably we both felt much as the old brother felt. It was an odd time and place to bring in politics. At the close of the Quarterly Meeting I hastened back to Uncle Andrew's to the family reunion so as not to lose any of the reminiscences. Uncle An- drew seemed anxious to have a good spread for us at every meal, remarking that it was between " hay and grass," so that he could not get very much that was good to eat. Yet everything was splen- did, and to meet five aged ministers, and they brothers, is a very rare occurrence and a privilege of a lifetime ; a feast, indeed, whether it was be- tween hay and grass or not. The day that Uncle William was expected some of us went to the train as it came in from the North to see if he came. Uncle Jesse was anxious and excited. The four brothers were all there, and it only lacked William to complete the circle. Rushing to the platform and looking at the cars that were just pulling into the depot, Uncle Jesse made a misstep and fell terribly and heavily. I rushed to him, thinking he must be badly hurt, but he was on his feet in a mo- ment, and was the first to grasp the hand of his brother William. Uncle William's first greeting was one expressing wonder as to how his brother's vest had become so soiled, but we were all glad that he was not seriously crippled. Then came the stories of " the old house at home " and the old shop and the old barn, the sugar grove and the charcoal pit, and the sod cabin where they slept nights, with a blazing fire in front for a guard in place of a door, boiling down the syrup and mak- Rev. Andrew Peck. 149 ing maple candy, sweeter and finer than any that can be bought, the boyish sports and trials of strength and speed and efforts to show which could climb the highest and not have his head swim. It was admitted on all hands that Luther could lift the heaviest weight, and had the strongest grip in his fingers. They called up an old instance of his lifting an anvil by grasping it by the peaked end. He could do it and no one of the others could, but he did it once too often, and let it fall upon his toes ; then there was a scene which had more dancing on one foot and groaning than hilarity. The anvil was not there at the family visit, so they could not try it over again. At one of these gath- erings I remember when we were all seated at a long table, five brothers and their wives and a great many nephews and nieces. Uncle Jesse was at the head of the table trying to dissect the fowl; he seemed to have difficulty in his work, and made a remark that was somewhat derogatory to the de- ceased, and in a moment he was reprimanded, for it had always been a motto in the family " never to speak evil of the dead." He was a bishop then, but instead of being offended he laid down his carving knife and fork and gave way to a hearty laugh, and our dinner was postponed that much. At one of the gatherings we had an old-fashioned mush-and-milk dinner. The meeting was in the late autumn. The corn had been planted in the spring in the garden by the brother himself. When the corn became ripe he gathered it, and gave it a thorough drying by the stove ; then it was shelled, taken to the mill and ground, and 150 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. when the day came for the feast, a large kettle was put over, and when the water boiled the mush was made — new corn mush. Then a great abundance of milk was set on the table in a large pan with a dipper, and the hot mush put on in another pan ; then a bowl and spoon was set for each guest. We all gathered around, and after grace was said each hastened, childlike, to be first to get a spoon into the mush, and the mush into his bowl, and the luxurious food into his mouth. There was Dr. Crane, with specs on, a boy again, and my aged father, with the hilarity of youth ; and Dr. George laid by his gravity and used his spoon as handy as he could when he was a boy of ten. That dinner, as I look back to it now, seems to me the best dinner I ever enjoyed. There was my father, just recovering from an attack of sickness, with a silver spoon in his mouth, eating mush and milk. There sat the real Gertrude of Wyoming, eating like the rest. There sat a bishop, enjoying the occasion hugely. The author of the True Wom- an had his true woman by his side, and both were enjoying themselves full as much as any. Near by sat J. Townley Crane, whose mother-in- law was the Gertrude of the company. He wore golden-bowed specs, and had a silver spoon in his mouth — certainly he was not born so. He was a Doctor of Divinity and an author. He had issued a volume from the press, proving the morality of not dancing. His wife could sing when she was a child, as I have already shown. At the far end of the table sat the acknowledged head of the family, George Peck, D.D., the same whose nasal organ in Rev. Andrew Peck. 151 early life was adorned with a clothespin, while he was elevated upon a platform. This had been done by his instructor in order to develop in his character some grains of moral perception. It, however, had an effect entirely the reverse of what was intended, and so the treatment was changed and the in- structor was changed. There with dignity he sat at the head of the table, eating mush and milk in the primitive way. The author of the romance of Wyoming Valley, and he and his wife, and her parents and grandparents chief actors in the drama. The author of Manly Character, the Rule of Faith, and Christian Perfection. He had cer- tainly improved since his savage old teacher had tried his various modes of moral culture in the old schoolhouse with the parsonage in the attic. His brother Andrew's intimation that there was a place of future torment had more effect and better effect than the torment that was present. There was the man, nearly fourscore years old, with good eyes, good hearing, and a good voice, and as good a heart as ever beat in a human breast — young again. There sat Andrew his early instructor, with the same sober look he always wore, yet somewhat brightened up by the reunion of the brothers. He was eating mush and milk, and thinking of the milk he had once lost in a philosophic discussion. Andrew looked at his brother George, and thought with much satisfaction certainly, " My early warning has resulted in making a great man out of a bad boy." Tell me, ye men that write history and biogra- phy, have you ever found a story equal to this? I challenge the world to equal this one. Did ever 152 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. in the chronicles of time occur just such a scene as this? Five brothers, sons of the same father, each with his wife, all the five distinguished ministers of the same Church, two of them authors, and children and grandchildren sitting with them around a table eating mush and milk, and the meal made from the corn that one of the five raised himself. The youngest one a bishop weigh- ing three hundred pounds. I will give one hun- dred dollars for just such a story in the whole history of the world. And let it be remembered that the head of this family had sat at the private table of Andrew Jackson, and talked with him con- fidentially concerning early wars and revolutions. He had stood before kings and lords. He was the same one who had been buried twenty-six years before by the Rev. Leroy M. Lee, of The Richmond Christian Advocate, " Here lies a Peck, A peck of dust." Should it not be added, " Here lies a Lee?" The man was not dead whose epitaph Lee wrote, as this family gathering plainly demonstrated. Andrew Peck lived to be the oldest one of the five brothers in the ministry. He joined the Con- ference when he was only eighteen, and lived until he was eighty-seven ; so he was a minister sixty- nine years. This has not been surpassed in his Conference more than once or twice. George Har- mon was a minister seventy years, and Benjamin G. Paddock is credited with a seventy-two-year min- isterial service, and lived until he was only eighty- three ; so he joined the Conference at eleven years Rev. Andrew Peck. 153 of age. This may be a mistake of ten years. If so, Andrew Peck is second in age in the ministry, and only one year behind George Harmon, who stands first. While Uncle Andrew was a member of the Conference he helped to send out several men who have gone into the bishop's office. His own brother, Jesse, W. X. Ninde, E. G. Andrews, and John P. Newman. Thomas Bowman was born in the bounds of the old Genesee Conference. Enoch George, Calvin Kingsley, and Charles H. Fowler bore relation to old Genesee. Uncle Andrew was a fine preacher, and no apol- ogy need be offered for him as to early advantages or anything else. He was a master workman in the pulpit. He came to our house in the year 1862, and visited us and remained over Sunday; though he was old and feeble I requested him to preach in my pulpit, and it was a luxury to listen to him ; and though I had the pleasure of hearing some splendid sermons while I was in Brooklyn and Pennsylvania, yet the sermon of this aged man is the only one of all that I can remember to this day, and I made no more record of it than I did of the others, nor did I try any harder to re- member it. His sermon was on the ten lepers who were cleansed, and only one, and he a stranger, re- turned to give glory to God ; and the Saviour, seem- ing to be sad over the base ingratitude displayed, asked, "Where are the nine? Were there not ten cleansed ?" It was a clear and masterly sermon on ingratitude. " How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child/' I met him several times at his happy, peaceful 154 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. home, and always felt refreshed to be with him. He always took an interest in public and secular matters, as well as Church matters. He was not a destructive radical, yet a radical he certainly was. Some went a little too slow for him, still he man- aged to tolerate them. He lived right in the midst of the most fiery radicals. He w T as near McGrawville, that place which the Marylanders considered the very worst place on top of the earth. About the time I was living in Maryland a slave hunter was interfered with in his efforts to restore a slave to the sweet condition which he enjoyed in the sunny South, but the ex-servant had not seen the sweet- ness of his condition and was on his way to Canada ; and by the reports that came down South Mc- Grawville was one of the depots of the underground railroad, and even white men were aiding in get- ting the slaves away from their masters and homes. Andrew Peck was a very conservative man in his mature years, but a few efforts of slaveholders to vindicate the beauties of the Fugitive Slave law were enough to drive a lump of dead earth into being a radical. A few such letters as Rev. John S. Gor- such of Maryland wrote to The Christian Advocate, declaring to the three thousand New England clergymen who sent a protest against the disturb- ance of the Missouri Compromise line, that it was none of their business, w r ould be enough to make a red-hot radical out of an iceberg. One such letter answered to drive all the conservatism out of Andrew Peck, and indeed all the five brothers and all the grandsons and nephews, If it was none of our business if they brought their peculiar institu- Rev. Andrew Peck. 155 tion across the line between the North and the South, then we proposed to see who was running this North, we or they, and there was where the trouble commenced. Andrew Peck was thence- forward on the side of his native State, and if that was radicalism they could make the most of it. The brother of his old presiding elder, Rev. Gleason Fillmore, was President, and had signed the Fugitive Slave law, with other measures that were intended as a pacification of the country; and this act of Millard Fillmore was all that the aged minister could stand ; but when the effort was made to batter down the Chinese wall between freedom and slavery then the old guard threw up their commissions and ranged themselves as radicals. I met him about the year 1870. It was on the camp ground in Freeville, and the meeting was a good one. It was a new ground, and seemed to be ill adapted for camp meeting, especially in damp weather, and the weather was quite wet. He was there, though threescore years and ten. He had his family and his tent to cover them, and provision to feed ministers and visitors and strangers. I was invited in and was made welcome, and enjoyed a little rest and felt at home. He was not there to find fault with the weather or that ground or the management or the preaching. He was young with the youngest and encouraged the officers all that was possible. One brother in trying to preach had trouble with his manuscript ; the rain fell upon it, and so he had to get along without notes. Uncle Andrew was then heart and soul in the temperance work and had already joined himself to a new organ- 156 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. ization called the Antidramshop Party. There is abundant proof on hand to convince anyone that he was a loyal, liberal, kind-hearted Christian citi- zen until the close of his long life. For over forty years he was a member of that official board of Cortlandville Station, and while it was a compara- tively weak charge when he settled down to live there it has grown to be one of the finest stations in the whole Conference. In 1847 there was a mem- bership of one hundred and fifty; now the member- ship numbers five hundred and thirty-three, and did in 1885. The church in those earlier days was old and poor and had no parsonage ; now there is a splendid church worth twenty-three thousand dol- lars, and a four-thousand-dollar parsonage. He has been closely identified with all the work of that so- ciety since it became a station by itself. Years ago when the Conference was held there the court- house had to be used for their larger gatherings. One Conference met there when Jesse T. Peck was in his prime, and while preaching in the court- house there came up an awful thunderstorm ; the louder the cannonade from the clouds the louder the speaker had to speak, and he was bound to be heard if possible. Dr. Durbin went to his board- ing place before church was out. Meeting the loud- voiced orator the next morning he spoke in his pecul- iar feminine voice, as follows : " Doctor, which had the best of it last night, you or the thunder? When I left I thought it was a doubtful contest. " The people of Cortland always welcomed the members of the family to their pulpit and to the home cir- cles, and on the occasion of one family gathering Rev. Andrew Peck. 157 one of the members, I think his name was French, took the whole crowd of relatives to his own princely residence, so that all could have room. When one of them preached in the church a great crowd greeted him. This I consider a fine eulogy on my aged uncle, Andrew Peck. He had so con- ducted himself after his superannuation as to win the respect and love of those with whom he dwelt. Sometimes a superannuate feels that he has been crowded out of the ranks by younger men. This was not the case with. Uncle Andrew. I once heard an aged preacher of the Baltimore Conference say that the young college students were crowding into the Conference so fast that there was no room for old men who had borne the burdens of the earlier times, and that very year a young man from my class in college was sent on the very charge where that old brother had found his super- annuation. I never heard any such thing from Uncle Andrew's lips, and the records of the Confer- ence will show that the Conference collection for worn-out preachers never weakened on account of the unpopularity of the claimant who lived in their midst. It would be no wonder if he had become childish in his old age ; if he did I have never heard of it. A man past eighty can be ex- pected to be notional, but that family of Pecks never had notions when they were young or old, and it becomes the men of later generations to guard well against becoming notional and cynical in their old age. The older Pecks never belonged to that school of philosophy. They could always find men without a lantern. 158 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. As we look over the list of the pastors at Cort- land along through the years while Uncle Andrew was retired we are convinced that he sustained them and they stood by him. The old man who came upon the charge found in him a helper no less than the young and ambitious man. There was George Bridge, who welcomed the first family visit in Cortland. On that occasion I drove into the village alone ; it was about noon. I put my horse at a stable and walked out upon the street and asked a little girl if she knew where the minis- ter lived. " Who, Brother Bridge?" she asked. " Yes," I said. She said, " I will show you," and I felt at home immediately. Before we had gone a dozen rods we came to a nice residence; the door being open, I saw familiar faces, and the smile of Uncle George greeted me. My little guide left me, and I went in and found the five brothers and all the rest, and I crowded in among the boys as John Dempster did at the camp meeting. Brother Bridge was happy and made us all happy. After him W. N. Pearne, one of the older men ; then came Daniel Cobb, a tremendous preacher and a good singer ; he was splendid in revival work. I first saw him at a camp meeting near Cortland. He labored in the meeting altar like a hero. He was a leader in Minnesota and California. L. D. Davis followed him and A. S. Graves came next. Brother Graves was a grand success, and was dele- gate to General Conference ; I have no doubt he was helped by the vote of Andrew Peck. Then came George Bridge, already mentioned, then E. C Brown, and after him the brave and lamented A. Rev. Andrew Peck. 159 J. Grover, who went to the war and gave up his promising life for his country. A sad bereavement for the aged superannuated minister. Then came Ephraim Hoag. He had been pastor of my father's family on the Brackle and had a glorious revival there. One of my brothers was then con- verted. Then came to Cortland an older man, Ephenetus Owen. He remained two years. He was a rousing preacher and sometimes laughable. Dr. Z. Paddock once told me of a time when Brother Owen jostled his gravity, and it was about the only instance of the kind that had ever happened to him while listening to a sermon. Brother Owen was explaining how much help he could get by having implicit confidence in the Lord, and inti- mated that some people would have their confidence easily shaken by some trivial circumstances, like the lady whose horse ran away and inverted her vehicle and caused a general wreck. But she sur- vived, and in describing the disaster afterward to her pastor she remarked that she had, through it all, the utmost confidence in God until the " brit- chen broke/' Brother Owen was pastor when another family visit occurred in Cortland, and my episode, when I attended the Quarterly Meeting out of town, occurred under his management. After Brother Owen came E. C. Curtis, and remained three years ; he did not scruple to assail great abominations whenever found, even if they tried to hide behind the Constitution of the United States. He had in his young days been pastor at Cincinnatus and Brackle, and was soon promoted to the Cortland Station. The next man who ap- 160 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. peared in the Cortland pulpit was J. T. Crippen. He was a master in eloquence. Uncle Andrew once told me he was the most natural orator that he ever heard preach. He afterward went to Iowa and was appointed to Waterloo. At a great fare- well mass meeting in his old Conference he made a tremendous speech, saying he was going to Water- loo, and they would have the great battle over again. Bishop Peck, the youngest brother, presided in a Conference in Cortland, and W. H. Annoble was placed there as pastor ; then after two years he was promoted, and C. C. Wilbur took the place. Through all these changes and war alarms and withdrawals from the Church Uncle Andrew was one who remained steady. Brother Owen thought we were a little too slow and gave his hand to the Free Methodists; Elias Bowen and his eloquent son-in-law, D. W. Thurston, half inclined that way, but Andrew Peck could not leave the old commun- ion even though an old associate presiding elder was inclined to step out. I am glad to think of him there in the beautiful village of Cortland with hosts of friends around him, with the strong society which he had helped to build up, with the singing birds courting his protection and friendship, and never being disap- pointed. There he rested and prayed and sung, a sweet-spirited veteran of the army of the living God. He went to his last long rest in the springtime, May 6, 1887, and his Master laid him gently upon his soft and downy pillow to sleep until the reveille shall summon the "men in uniform " to answer to roll call on the great coronation day. REV. WILLIAM PECK. Rev. William Peck. 161 CHAPTER V. Rev* William Peck* HIS is the bad boy of the five, yet he was one 1 of them. He was not seriously bad, yet rather more inclined to martial music than to church music. He would rather go to a serenade of the drum corps than to a prayer meeting. Being only nine years of age he could plead that he was too young to be a Christian when the others were con- verted at the camp meeting, yet his mother had included him in her prayer when she gave them all to the Lord. He was named after a royal fam- ily. William is a great name in English history. He could not be called William the Conqueror, for we have not even heard of any fights that he ever had. There was a William the Silent, but he could hardly be said to be him, seeing he was an active member of the band. He might possibly be called William the Lionhearted, yet he never tore any- body in pieces. He had the talents and capabilities of a king, a great king, if he had been born in that state of life. However, he was born and grew up a sovereign among a great many sovereigns, and was reared in a family where there was always a Chris- tian altar. He went West and became somewhat wayward, and though many had doubts of his ulti- mate reformation his mother never weakened in her faith that William would be converted and 11 162 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. some day be a preacher. The years went on, many changes occurred, his brothers took promi- nent positions in the Church, and even his youngest brother buckled on the harness and entered the min- istry. His mother lived to see him converted from his wayward course, and to hear him preach, mar- ried and settled in life, and a member of the Meth- odist Church; and in less than two years after she breathed her last he gave himself to the work of the traveling ministry, joining Conference in the class with Erastus Wentworth, who was present when his mother went to her last sleep — the same Wentworth who wrote a short obituary of the sainted lady, and drew with pencil the likeness which appears in this volume. The other men in that class of the Black River Conference were Al- vin Robbins, Morenus Thrasher, Rufus E. King, Joseph H. Lamb, John W. Cooper, Adam C. Green, and William Hawkins. N. R. Peck was only two years ahead of him. His first circuit was DeKalb, and he had no colleague. He had been married thirteen years and was a full-grown man. They had no children, and thus escaped the troubles and anxieties such as parents have over the follies of small boys or small girls and even larger boys and girls. Yet his brothers had enough of these to make up for his lack. There is one instance of the follies of boys which makes one shudder to look back to. It happened on the Brackle on the old farm of Luther H. Peck. There was an ox yoke on the premises, made by the older boys for young oxen to wear, or calves as they were called. It was stout and firm. One day Elias Bowen and Rev. William Peck. 163 Andrew Emory were playing together and came across that yoke and proposed to try it on. They had one calf handy, but not a pair, so they managed to adjust the yoke to the youthful ox's neck, put in the bow, and pinned it fast. Then Elias Bowen tried the other bow to Andrew's neck and it fitted very well ; then he succeeded in getting the bow into its proper place in the yoke, put in the hick- ory pin and made everything secure, and let the pair loose. Very soon the whole three were very much frightened. The calf was not used to the yoke and was not used to such a mate, and it ran off furiously ; Andrew Emory, the nigh ox, did the best he could to keep his neck from being broken by the hard wood collar, so, sometimes on his knees, and as much as he could on his feet, he kept up with his mate. Very fortunately the frightened beast tired out and stopped ; he remained quiet until Elias Bowen, pale with fear, detached the fright- ened animal and got the endangered youth free again. It is needless to say that experiment was never repeated by the boys. And we all cry out in dismay, What can possibly be the matter with boys ? Girls do not seem to be that way. When I was quite young my oldest brother ventured to run through a fire made for the heating of wagon tire out of doors. It was mostly out and the embers smoldering. I, of course, had to go through the same place, but as soon as I felt the hot coals on my bare feet I sat down and waited to be rescued from the burning. The scar is on my foot now which was made by that so-called disaster. My mother once rescued me from a tree into which 164 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. I had climbed ; losing my hold on the limbs I had been caught on a jagged knot and held by my garments with my head down. I cried for help and got it, and got some that I had not asked for, and then I cried. Indeed the anxiety of fathers and mothers has but little vacation when boys are growing up and running loose, and boys cannot be easy unless they are running loose, and the greater the danger the more greedy they seem to be to run into it. George Wesley, the first son, once man- aged to get up on the top of the old ox frame, which had been built to hold oxen while being shod. The sun was shining, and his body made a shadow on the ground. Mary Ann came along and set her feet on his shadow and called out, " George, I am stepping on your head." Then he moved so as to defeat her little scheme; then she jumped for his head again, then he ran and she ran, and soon he made a misstep and his really head came in con- tact with the ground ; a stone made a gash, and a scar was the result which he carried to his grave. Father left the shop and carried the boy tenderly into the house, and when mother asked him what he was up on the ox frame for, of course he could not think up any errand for which he had been moved to climb upon the old frame. Whoever heard of a boy giving a valid reason for such dis- asters as so often happen under their brilliant man- agement ? Elias Bowen once came near losing his life by the swinging of a heavy ox yoke fastened to the neck of a wild steer ; before the other steer was yoked this one whirled, and the end of the yoke struck Elias in the temple, and he went to the Rev. William Peck. 165 ground apparently lifeless and as limp as a rag. Father took him in his arms, carried him to the house, and carefully laid him on his mother's bed. He was then a child of three. He was told to stand back, but a boy always wants to be as close as possible when any rumpus occurs. He had his little whip in his hand, and struck at the animal as it swung furiously around. His head was not seriously hurt, and in a few days he was out with a handkerchief around his head working up other enterprises. Indeed father and mother wore them- selves out watching over and looking after the five boys they reared to manhood. The girls seemed to be more help than trouble. Our mother seemed to fear all the time that we would swallow pins, or put beans up our noses, or eat something in the woods that was poison. I remember I once wanted to place the old cat in a prison. I noticed a three- cornered deep pen caused by the bedroom door opening against a cross partition, and I could think of no way to get her in there except to throw her over the top of the door, so I bent down and gave a tremendous throw, and the poor animal, seeming to take in the situation, concluded hastily to take me along with her in her journey over into prison, and the first I knew I had three long scratches from my foot to my body. The poor cat had caught at the lower end of my pants and had not been care- ful enough in trying to avoid the skin of my leg. Years afterward I came to learn that a more suc- cessful plan to put a cat into such a pen would be to move the door a little and quietly shut the prisoner in. She would probably climb out over 166 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. the top of the door when she chose to. I looked in vain for sympathy, even from my mother. The cat had actually drawn blood on my innocent limb, yet mother did not seem to fear I would bleed to death. I have often thought of Uncle William and Aunt Charlotte going on with their reformatory work with never an anxious inquiry, " Where is my boy to-night ? ' ' Still it is easy to prove in these days that even bad boys are a help, especially if they grow out of the imagination of some fertile brain. George W. Peck, of Wisconsin, would never have been governor of the commonwealth if it had not been for the fictitious badness of his fictitious male offspring. William Peck w T as never governor because he never had a bad boy ; possibly he would not have been if he really had a boy that was bad. Many men have failed to reach that responsible position who had several bad children of both sexes. My Uncle William w r as never confronted with the oft-repeated saying that minister's children were the worst children in town. He was, however, deprived of the rich luxury of giving Christmas presents, filling a half dozen little stockings and hearing the rumpus on Christmas morning. The blowing horns, the beating drums, the rattling chariots and horses and tin cars, the filling of Noah's ark, the noise of the workmen building houses and barns, the shrieks of dolls that are made to cry, the rattle boxes and the tin whis- tles and pop guns. We sometimes hanker after such days and scenes to return, and long to see a pair of muddy boots lying in front of the stove, or Rev. William Peck. 167 a scarf strung along the whole length of the table, or a rumpled hat in the parlor in the best rocking chair. Our tired hearts would make no complaint if we could see again the dear boy who has gone and hear the rattle of his drum. But no more we hear the clatter of his little boots on the steps and we feel lonesome. Uncle William had no children to hinder his travels or his usefulness. He could and did attach himself to the children of his congrega- tion. There would be no pencil marks on the nice painted doors and frescoed walls of the parsonage, and the brethren and sisters would feel happy when a man and his wife would come to the new charge all alone. When it is otherwise they feel otherwise. One lady whom I well knew, when the new pastor came to the charge where she had her dwelling place, declared that he had chartered an emigrant train to bring his family. In such cases there are many regrets, still there are relieving fea- tures in a large family of children. Though Uncle William never was compelled to charter a train, he never had a home Christmas tree such as some of us have seen and so much enjoyed. He never had a son or daughter go upon the platform and recite a poem or a piece of prose on Children's Day. Indeed, how could we have Children's Day without children? All we can do is to adapt ourselves as best we can to the situation, whatever the situa- tion is in any given case. A minister and his wife, like Uncle William and his wife, can keep their house neat and receive fashionable calls and return them; yet the music of childhood rhymes, like " Little boy blue blowing his horn," can never 168 Luther Peck and His Five Sons. greet them from the garret or chambers. So there are drawbacks as well as advantages in a childless itinerancy. William Peck had for his first presid- ing elder Lewis Whitcomb. His brother Jesse was not far off, and Reuben Reynolds was close by; he had been a teacher of all the five brothers. He remained at DeKalb one year, and then moved to Hammond as second preacher with Lindley D. Gibbs in charge the second year, Nathaniel Salis- bury being presiding elder. Next he moved to Colosse under the eldership of Burroughs Holmes. That charge he undertook alone. After one year he was placed in charge of North Manlius and had R. N. Barber as his helper. He was appointed the second year at North Manlius with the same pre- siding elder and another man to help him. There were three other Pecks in the Conference besides himself. The next move was to Victory, and there he had a helper in the person of Amos Nickerson. His work was in the region of Oneida Lake. He remained at Victory two years, the second year as helper to Anson Tuller. John Dempster was a member in the Conference ; this was almost like having a brother in it. Next he was sent to Rose and had B. Holmes as his presiding elder and good Reuben Reynolds close by. At Rose he remained his full term. C. L. Dunning and Hiram Mattison appear on the scenes. I heard Hiram Mattison at the session of our Conference in Newark Valley, in the old Presbyterian church, on the " Resurrection of the Body." One thing I remember which he said in illustration : " As the migratory bird, whose summer nest is under the eaves of the farmer's Rev. William Peck. 169 barn when the chill winds of autumn begin to whistle around the rustic home, will pause awhile on the edge of its family home and chirp its sweet- est songs just before its flight to those summer regions where frosts come not. So the weary pil- grim of earth will say his sweetest words and sing his sweetest songs just before leaving his clay tene- ment to go to that sunnier strand beyond the swell- ings of Jordan." I heard him again at the Damascus camp meeting, during the centenary year of Amer- ican Methodism, preach a great sermon Sunday afternoon on the " Judgment. " There he spent a few hours in the rear part of the preacher's stand, sitting on some straw on the floor, busy with his notes; when the hour came for the sermon he poured forth such a continued strain of Gospel eloquence as that vast crowd had never heard. The day was pleasant and the air was still, and for more than sixty minutes the man of God opened to our view the sences of the last day, when Nero and Caligula and Judas Iscariot and the bloody Mary would stand before the searching eye of the Nazarene, and his martyred saints confidingly rest- ing by his side, and Michael and Gabriel already taking down their harps to lead the heavenly choirs in the grand coronation song. The lamented J. V. Watson, nearly forty years ago, while sitting in a General Conference, took pen-and-ink sketches of prominent members of the body. He commenced on Hiram Mattison thus : " He sits now directly before us in total ignorance of our intended on- slaught upon him with pencil and papers in one hand, leaning a little forward, slender, lithy, and 170 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. wiry, straight as an Indian, with neck a little too attenuated, bound up with a challengeless white cravat adjusted in a style the most an fait? The same writer, at the same Conference, drawing pic- tures, tried his pencil on John Dempster, one of the boys of the camp meeting at Minden. He said : " And well his words became him. Was he not a full-celled honeycomb of eloquence? Stored from all flowers, poetlike he spoke. Of the parentage, early history, and education of this venerable man we know just nothing." Dr. Watson could have learned something from George Peck, who was on that General Conference floor, of the early history of Dr. Dempster. It was Mother Peck who first discovered that Dempster would " make a preacher," after hearing him pray in a tent. She seemed to be able to read human character, as this whole story shows. In 1 85 1 George Sawyer was Presiding Elder of Oswego District ; William Peck was in the district stationed at New Haven. After a year he was trans- ferred to the Syracuse District and stationed at South Richmond. Next he went to Cleveland, in the same district, with G. G. Hapsgood presiding elder. I look over the associates of Uncle Wil- liam that year, and I find in the Conference I. L. Hunt, A. J. Phelps, George Gary, L. F. White, O. M. Legate, Gardner Baker, James Erwin, Miles H. Gaylord, J. B. Foote, Isaac S. Bingham, and the others already mentioned. Indeed, the northern tier of counties in New York State seems to have been productive of great men. We find children named after them all over the country. I Rev. William Peck. 171 knew a Charles Giles, a George Gary, and a John Dempster. In the Congress of the United States is now N. M. Curtis, from St. Lawrence County, just six feet and a half high, a man every inch of him, with one eye gone, shot away at Fort Fisher. He voted and spoke for the prohibition amend- ment in the Legislature of 1884, an d I have been aching to get a chance to vote for him for Presi- dent or Vice President or something else for several years. William Peck could not well hold his place in the councils of such men as I have mentioned and be anything less than a grand success, and such he was for many years. His greatness com- menced at his conversion. Indeed, this may be said of all the five brothers and most all the great preachers of the world. Uncle remained at Cleve- land his term out and then went to New London, where he remained two years. Then he was ap- pointed to Oswego and Granby, which appoint- ment he held for two years. Then he went to South Mexico, thence to Parish. Gilbert Mills was his next appointment, 1861. He was there when the war broke out. Then he retired from the effective ranks to rest. Among his associates in this retirement were Charles Giles, M. H. Gay- lord, and Reuben Reynolds, and a large class of men, some of whom have already been mentioned. His biographer in his own Conference says: " He died in the village of Oswego Falls, March 16, 1883, in the eightieth year of his age. Pie celebrated his golden wedding January 1, 1878. He found in his wife those qualities which eminently fitted her for companionship with an itinerant Methodist 172 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. minister, such as piety, industry, economy. He was a minister in the same Conference forty-two years. On all of his charges he was permitted to see much of the fruits of his labors in the conver- sion of souls ; while on the Victory Charge he re- ceived the blessing of entire sanctification, which he retained till death. He was a good pastor; as a preacher he was faithful, scriptural, earnest. He did not shun to declare the whole counsel of God. He spent much time in prayer, and was never so happy as when seeing the work of the Lord pros- pering on his charges. He was laid aside from active work for the last twenty years of his life." I heard him preach at Cortland at one of the family reunions, and I distinctly remember the text, and this is more than I can say of any other sermon which I heard on that great occasion. The text was, " A broken and contrite heart thou wilt not despise." The heart which God loves is a penitent heart, not a proud heart, nor a hard heart, nor a deceitful heart. The rich, the beautiful, the edu- cated, the young and high born are generally ac- cepted among men ; but God prefers a contrite heart, and, if contrite, it is not rejected on account of youth or good looks or wealth or poverty or learning or ignorance or high birth or low birth. Such a preacher was William Peck — original, scrip- tural, logical, convincing; and the thoughts fastened to the memory engraved to stay. Who can object to such preaching; Uncle William always enjoyed the family gatherings. He somewhat regretted that his dear old mother could not have known be- fore she died that he had taken upon himself the Rev. William Peck. 173 sacred vows of the ministry. It is a luxury to put on record such a life. No apology had to be made when he was taken into the Conference. I have known some men, who were quite successful, to have apologies made for them for something they had or failed to have. There were no apolo- gies put forward to help our honored relative into the ministry. No objection was made to his lack of orthodoxy. I have known the presiding elder to plead for the admission of a man into the Con- ference even after he had admitted that he could not indorse some of the things that seemed to be taught in the Bible. No such plea was ever made for Brother Peck. There was no question as to or- thodoxy, no question as to his wife or the size or condition of his family, no question as to his liter- ary attainments, no question as to grammar or cor- rectness in language. This is the more remarkable since he came into a Conference composed of some of the finest scholars in the whole Church, like the men whose names have already been mentioned in this chapter. He took his position in the class, and the class was composed of some of the very finest scholars. After the regular two years' course he was ordained deacon with the rest. He did not have to be put back a year. He came in that year into full connection with his class in the Confer- ence. Sometimes it is put forward in a man's be- half that he has had a parsonage to build, or he did not have very good early literary advantages, or he had a great revival, or some plea in extenuation for his falling behind in his studies; but this one did not fall behind. He came in regularly and gradu- 174 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. ated to elder's orders regularly. He was not ad- vised to go to some backwoods Conference, where there would not be such a high degree of culture demanded. The presiding elder will sometimes say : " There are localities where this brother will do considerable good if we give him a chance. He has a good voice, some degree of common sense and energy and push, and will make up for what deficiencies he may now have. I will find an opening for him somewhere if the Conference will give him a little leniency. ,, No such speech ever had to be made for the subject of this sketch. He was welcome to the pulpits of the most cultured, educated, and aristocratic people of the Empire State, and he did not have to go West and grow up with the country. He lived among his people and mingled with them. He was one of the most soci- able, friendly men of the whole family. He prob- ably mingled more with outsiders than any of his brothers. He kept to his work and took no vaca- tions. If a man got into trouble he had a strong arm to help him out. He sought not honors of men, but his whole soul was committed to rescue the perishing. He sustained the periodicals of the Church, the schools of the Church, and took all the collections. What more is wanted to complete this record ? He needs no eulogy from me. His life is his eulogy. Just such men have built up a strong, solid Church during this century which is fast wan- ing, and we do not half open our eyes to the gran- deur of the work they have accomplished. Their biographies are the history of the Church and a great part of the country. These five men of whom Rev. William Peck. 175 I am taking account have been the field marshals of our Church on all these battlefields where the foes of righteousness have confronted the armies of the wounded Galilean. William Peck may not have been the Murat of the field, but he was as in- vincible as Soult or Ney. He had the unyielding spirit of Grant rather than the sweeping dash of Sherman. He had an unbending conscience, and that led him to the very front of all reforms. He could carry a musket or a drum with just as much heart as though he wore epaulettes and carried stars upon his breast. He never had to call upon a brother or other relative to help him into Confer- ence or out of a failure, for he made no failures. He struck heavy blows that counted, and did not beat the air, and whether he was honored with flowers and bright bouquets or not he preached the Gospel as best he could, and whether we lay flowers upon his tomb or not he rests his weary head upon the bosom of his crucified Master. John McClintock wrote forty years ago, in his preface to a volume of Biographical Sketches, as follows: "The age of chivalry was renewed in its noblest aspects in the beginnings of Methodism. Its history, especially in America, is a record of moral heroism unsurpassed in any age of the Church. The story is yet unwritten. The historians of the country have generally ignored in utter blindness one of the richest fields open to them, and the his- torians of the Church have done but little toward a true and ample account of the vast and valorous labors of these modern apostles. Every memorial, then, however slight, of the lives and toils of the 176 Luther Peck and his Five Sons fathers is at once a blessing to the Church and a contribution to the true history of the civilization of the age. To this class belong the sketches of Wesley, Fletcher, Garrettson, McKendree, Roberts, Pickering, and Hedding, given in this volume. To a later period belong the lives of Fisk, Emory, Leavings, and Olin, but the very names will justify their collection here with the elder fathers. They are illustrations — wonderful illustrations in fact — of the vigorous and healthful growth of Methodism, each of them affording a noble specimen of high intellectual power, and large accomplishments de- voted with entire self-denial to the service of the Church of God." All this can be said truthfully of the five sons of Luther Peck. Indeed, William was twenty years old when Freeborn Garrettson came to Utica and preached for his brother George and remained sev- eral days. So the herioc times spoken of by Dr. McClintock reach down to the times of the five brothers, and Garrettson and Hedding and Leavings met them in Conference, and Leavings was an apprenticed blacksmith before he became a preacher, and so the brothers Peck were alongside of him in rising from " servants" to " ride on horses." Leavings was a mechanic in Troy, near Albany, and was just the age of George Peck within one year, and joined the Conference two years later than uncle George, and died in 1848. He was placed among the heroes by John McClintock and Dr. Davis W. Clark, and surely he is well deserving of the place given him, and the five brothers can occupy a place alongside Rev. William Peck. 177 of him in Church history. They did the same kind of work that he did, traveled over the same kind of territory, and one of them was a member of the same Conference with him, and from it was elected to the same General Conference, and each of the five worked longer and lived .longer to work than he did. Dr. McClintock remarked in his preface that the volume of biographies would be followed by another in " succeeding years," but the grave closed over him before he had time to write another volume ; his own name deserves a high place on the scroll of heroes, and the five brothers have now gone, all gone, so it seems, to devolve upon an un- worthy son of the eldest of the five to contribute a slight testimonial to the work and worth of those heroes who are already historic in the chronicles of this marvelous nineteenth century. In the year 1869 the blazing sunlight printed their faces and forms side by side on one photo- graph card as the five stood in the pulpit of the Adams Avenue Church, Scranton, Pa. From that happy reunion they went to their several homes with a good-bye that had as little of the tones of a dirge in it as possible, and we can still trace their footprints as they walk the King's highway with a friendship hallowed and undying, and we say, "Hail, all hail ! you noble band of brothers. We will gather courage and inspiration as we look upon the shadow of your whitened locks and wrinkled faces. We love the Church you toiled to help build for us and our children." "For her our tears shall fall, For her our prayers ascend." 12 178 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. CHAPTER VI. Bishop Jesse T* Peck, D*D* THIS is the last of the five brothers, but not the least. The last shall be first and the least shall be greatest. So let it be with him. He was the greatest in office, but not in seniority. The of- fice of bishop is not by seniority, but by ballot, and the majority of votes settle the question. If this ar- rangement in this volume had been by office this one would have stood at the head of the family. In parentage they stand par nobile fratrum, in pedi- gree they were on a level, in talent people will judge differently, yet the four after the first are as near equal, one to the other, as men can possibly be. He was great in the sense that his brother George was great. With small beginnings and un- favorable surroundings, yet accomplishing wonders. He came upon the stage later, yet he was in the same drama that had called out the powers of the brothers before him. He was called from the low- est ranks to be field marshal, and in some respects he was the most attractive figure of the whole five brothers. He was the Murat of the dress parade, or the carnage of stern war. He was the " Plumed Knight' ' of the militant Church. He earned his titles and his spurs and his stars. He was not like Troilus, son of a king, yet he was Troilus, one of the five sons, and answers the description. " Do REV. BISHOP JESSE T. PECK, D.D. Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 179 you know what a man is? Is not birth, beauty, good shape, discourse, manhood, learning, gentle- ness, virtue, youth, liberality, and such like the spice and salt that season a man? " In addition to these things which season a man he had faith and works, and his whole life was spent in watching and waiting and praying. His working days and Sabbath days were all the same, all filled up with good deeds. His first year in the itinerancy was a sample of all his years that followed. He did not have a long rest in the retirement of superannuation, but he wrought on until the close of the eleventh hour, when his Master called a halt. He lived and married and died and was buried in the territory covered by the old Genesee Conference, the same as did all his four brothers ; that same territory was the scene of their birth and their boyish sports and their early hard work for a living. Jesse T. Peck was elevated over his brothers, but not by the same process that Joseph was ; his brothers assist- ed in his elevation. All were voters in the Annual Conferences which centered in the General Con- ference, which body placed in his hand the scepter of authority. His oldest brother was not in the Conference, but he had sons in the Conference to vote in his stead, and when the day of ordination came he was presented by his older brother to be inducted into the sacred office of bishop over the whole Church. The only instance on record, as I think. The youngest of five brothers elevated to the highest office while the four were yet living, and all subject to his authority ; all were anxious that he would wear his honors meekly and do the 180 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. work faithfully. There was no jealousy, such as appeared in the family of Jacob when a young brother won a badge of office. The four brothers could make obeisance to Joseph without being starved to it. This Joseph was loved by the others as well as by his father, and he proved himself worthy of their love and confidence. He grasped for knowledge greedily, more so than any of his brothers. He seemed to be in a hurry to become a scholar, and early put to use everything he could master. He used his voice early, and soon had it under good % control. He was an easy and plain talker. His oratory was more of the Cicero style than that of Demosthenes, and yet it had some of the elements of both. He could plead at the bar for the life of a criminal, or please a crowd of young people at a Sunday school picnic. In social meet- ings he was unsurpassed, and yet was more at home before a mixed multitude of ten thousand. He never, that I know, used notes or manuscript in the pulpit, yet his sermons were well matured, and his arguments made a perfect chain, with no flaw in any link. I have read sermons and addresses of his, yet they seemed to lack his presence, the graceful motion of his hand, the trill of his voice, and the flash of luster beaming in his eye. There was much thunder in his sermons, yet it was not " sound and fury," for it always signified some- thing, and the lightning and rain were never lack- ing. I have heard him on all occasions such as a popular minister will naturally meet. His soul seemed to breathe through everything he said, whether it was in a prayer circle or in the pulpit. Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 181 On one occasion in his earlier ministry, at the close of some meeting where he had previously been stationed and returned for a visit, while most of his old parishioners were living and came out to hear him, he one especial commendation which he received was from an aged sister who came to him and expressed herself as being " so de- lighted to hear him read the beautiful psalm ; " and, " Are we yet alive and see each other's face." He was a splendid reader. Old psalms and hymns would sound new. He was the equal of Simpson in his palmiest days, though starting with less bright prospects and fewer advantages. John P. Durbin could on given occasions drive a great au- dience half wild with excitement. He could do the same thing seven days in a week, and as to books, his will be read as much and live as long as Durbin's. John A. Collins, of the old Baltimore Conference, was in his day a leader among minis- ters of the "border," and once intimated to Dr. Peck that he need not expect to stand up as the equal alongside of such mighty men as had grown up around Washington and Baltimore. " O, no," said Dr. Peck, " yet I propose to ride inside of the Baltimore carriage or I will charter another con- veyance." The great world can judge between the two men now since their lives have gone upon the great journal. When I was in Maryland John A. Collins was spoken of as the " bell sheep of that flock," and he well deserved to be thus classed. I would express the same idea, not in the same language, but may be not in any better language. He was elected that very year to the General Con- 182 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. ference by the largest vote of anyone in the dele- gation. He was a grand man, and yet some grand men make a failure when they undertake to sit down on younger men. So he has not been alone in failures of that kind. Jesse T. Peck served four years in charges as pastor in charge and all alone. He was well received and his preaching attracted attention. Joining the Oneida Conference in 1832 he was stationed in Dryden, the next year at Newark Valley, the next at Skaneateles, then at Potsdam. He was ordained deacon after two years and received into full connection ; there were eight so received out of a class of thirty-three. Then he went to the Black River Conference and was ordained elder in regular course, and his fifth year he went to Gouverneur and took charge of the high school. His eloquence and power as a preacher had already been commended far beyond his stations. My uncle, Samuel B. Kenyon, used frequently to speak of a funeral sermon which he heard him preach down in North Pitcher. It w r as the funeral of Abbey Reynolds, daughter of his old friend and pastor and teacher, Rev. Reuben Rey- nolds. It is the only sermon that I ever heard him speak of in lavish praise, and he was the only minister that my uncle ever admired as far as I ever heard him speak of them. He did not then make a profession of religion. He was my school- teacher one or two winters, and was a lawyer in cases around the neighborhood, and admired elo- quence. He admired Andrew Jackson and named a son after him, and that son was for some years a member of the Oneida Conference — Andrew Jack- Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 183 son Kenyon, who was stationed at Elmira when he died, a few years ago. While Uncle Jesse was in that school he took his father and mother to his home and into his family ; he could well do it for he had no children. His mother died there with her w T eary head resting on his arm. He was married October 13, 183 1, to Persis Wing, and their married life has been the most happy possible. Through all his travels she has never failed to be by his side, and for more than sixty years his interests have been hers ; the Church has had the best service of her heart and her most earnest prayers, and she lives to pray for and help the cause which had the benefit of her best thought. Though frequently for years she had felt the pains of dis- ease her heart has never been discouraged. She led her husband in the heart work of the higher life in Methodism, and through her earnest prayers and exhortations he was enabled to write the work entitled The Central Idea of Christianity ; and if during her whole life she happened to hear a min- ister or anyone else drop a remark in the least derogatory concerning those who professed sancti- fication she would feel it in the depths of her heart. She has taken a great many steps for us nephews and grandnephews and grandnieces, and the grati- tude that is thus due will not and should not be dealt out sparingly. A thousand blessings on her in her age and feebleness. They went from Gouver- neur to Poultney, Vt., to take charge of another school, and thus he became a member of the Troy Conference; in that Conference he took a posi- tion alongside of the best men and the oldest 184 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. men in the ministry. Albany, Troy, and Saratoga have been in that Conference ever since there was a Troy Conference, the oldest portion of the old Genesee Conference. Dr. D. D. Whedon, the mas- terly Editor of the Quarterly Review, came from that Conference, and Noah Levings, already spoken of in these pages. Noah Levings was the age of his brother, George Peck, and yet the young principal of the school up in Vermont carried the votes of the Conference for delegate to the General Confer- ence ; and on the floor of that historic body he answered to the roll call among the veterans and giants of the whole Church. He was then a young man only thirty-three years of age. His brother George had been to five General Conferences be- fore this one and was in this. The delegate from Vermont was at home in the aristocratic city of New York and in the old Greene Street Church. The body was called to order by Bishop Soule on Wednesday, May I, 1844, in the morning; after singing George Pickering and Dr. Capers led in prayer. There were in that body all the great men then living in the whole Church North and South and West. The committees were selected after the choice of secretaries. Thomas B. Sargent was sec- retary. Jesse T. Peck was appointed on the Com- mittee on Missions ; Nathan Bangs was chairman. John A. Collins, Abel Stevens, Lovick Pierce, Wil- liam Capers, Leroy M. Lee, E. R. Ames, and several others composed this committee. The Com- mittee on Education was a very select committee and had only a few members. These were Henry B. Bascom, chairman, John P. Durbin, Charles Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 185 Elliott, Stephen Olin, Matthew Simpson, Jesse T. Peck, and only seven others. A volume could be written on the lives of these, and some of them have been immortalized in biographies. Olin has traveled in the East as well as Durbin, and has also a place in McClintock y s Biographies, H. B. Bascom was a bishop in the Southern Church. Charles Elliott has a large place in the very first issue of the National Magazine by the editor, Abel Stevens, the historian. Elliott is represented in that maga- zine as having an involuntary jerk in his neck, and came near having a fight about it once while cross- ing a stream in a boat. Elliott was a fine scholar, and has written some works himself, one on Ro- manism. He was born in Ireland. He was on the committee that visited Lincoln from the General Conference during the dark days of the last war while the bloody battle of the Wilderness was going on. Simpson became a bishop, and was a master in pulpit eloquence« The men on the Mis- sionary Committee who became especially re- nowned were Nathan Bangs, whose life and work brought out a whole volume by Abel Stevens, and he himself has made himself immortal by his history of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Lovick Pierce and W. Capers were leaders in the Church South, and L. M. Lee was an editor, and wrote the premature obituary on George Peck. J. B. Finley was immortalized by a whole volume entitled A Backwoods Preacher, or the Pioneer Preacher. Alfred Griffith was a veteran from Baltimore. A great many good words have been written about him. He was the one who introduced the first 186 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. resolution into that General Conference which brought on the collision between North and South. He was a smallish man, a little lame in one leg, and chewed tobacco. I heard him preach once in Bendersville, Adams County, Pa., on " He was wounded for our transgressions/* etc. It was at a Quarterly Meeting, and the sermon was a great one. Peter Cartwright has written his own life, and it is a very popular book, full of interesting incidents of his pioneer life. He it was that changed a great dancing party at a hotel into a revival meeting where most of the dancers were converted. The fiddler fled in dismay, and never collected his fees for the evening. Among such men appeared the youthful delegate from the Green Mountains, with his older brother in the same body, ready to check his fiery assaults on foes and keep him properly in line. There was in that General Conference the mighty, learned, polished men from the South who had never done a day's work in their lives. Manual labor was not in- tended for them and their like. Those Southern men have a place in history. Dr. G. Peck speaks of them rather in detail as follows : " William Capers was famous for his powers in the pulpit and ability on the floor of the General Confer- ence. His heart was right, but he was in fetters. He lacked courage to resist the proslavery tide and was swept along by the current of sectional in- fluence. Dr. Lovick Pierce was an independent thinker, a scholar, and a gentleman, but intensely Southern in all his views and feelings. He was an eloquent preacher, piling one great thought upon Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 187 another, and closing with a climax which was like the bursting forth of a volcano. Dr. William Wi- nans was in many respects a great man. I heard him make his maiden speech in the General Confer- ence of 1824. He was a clear thinker and a logical reasoner. He was peculiar in style of dress. He never wore a cravat, and his collar, soiled with per- spiration, generally hung awry. Rev. John Early, of Virginia, was a man of courtly manners and somewhat haughty in his bearing. He generally contrived to get a seat near the president's chair. In speaking he was accustomed to saw the air with his right hand, bringing it down with an emphatic jerk at the end of every sentence. He was a per- fect gentleman among his friends, a zealot for his section and its peculiar institution. He seemed made for a leader, and became one of the Southern bishops. William A. Smith, of Virginia, was from the first the most noisy and blustering defender of slavery with whom the North had to contend. He was bold, fluent, vehement, and often exceedingly offensive to those whom he opposed. He occupied more time in the General Conference than any other member. He was a thunderer, but produced more noise than rain. A. L. P. Green was from Tennessee, a man of influence and talent, a kind- hearted gentleman not easily excited, strongly op- posed to abolitionism. B. M. Drake, of Mississippi, was one of the noblest specimens of a Methodist preacher, a Christian and a gentleman. He made a short speech in the case of Bishop Andrew, but his remarks were free from acrimony. A. B. Long- street, of Georgia, was a man of genius and an out- 188 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. and-out Southern man. He held abolitionism in utter abhorrence. Thomas Crowder, of Virginia, was a plain, earnest, religious man. He insisted that the Southern men were the only true friends of the slaves, and while they were laboring for their salvation the abolitionists threw obstacles in their way. Samuel Dunwody was an old country man of Celtic origin. He essayed a Scripture argument in behalf of human bondage, but produced more mirth than conviction. Robert Paine became a bishop in the South ; he was from Tennessee. George F. Pierce, of Georgia, a son of Dr. Lovick Pierce, had a better elocution and more polish but less caution than his father. His speech for Bishop Andrew was remarkable for the beauty of its imagery and the power of its eloquence. Among other things he said : " Let New England go with all my heart ; she has been for the last twenty years a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buf- fet us. Let her go and joy go with her, for peace will stay behind.' ' These men are sketched here to show what the men from New England and the North had to con- tend with. The fight was over Bishop James O. Andrew, who had just as much authority North as South ; he had been elected to his office by the help of Northern votes, at a time when he was known as not being a slaveholder. Yet as years passed he, by some property arrangement, by in- heritance or marriage, became a slaveholder. The churches in the free States would not enjoy hav- ing a bishop make appointments among them if he was a slave owner, and so the resolution in the Gen- Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 189 eral Conference was offered that the bishop should be requested to suspend the execution of his office until his slaves were disposed of. That was the cause of the great debate. John A. Collins, of Balti- more, favored the resolution, and made a tremen- dous argument in favor of it. The Southern breth- ren opened their heaviest batteries, and put forward men whose education had been thorough, whose hands had never been hardened by labor, whose faces had not been bronzed by facing cold blasts, and they supposed that the Northern and Eastern Yankees would surrender if they showed a bold front. After Collins, L. L. Hamline took the floor in favor of the resolution and presented the consti- tutional argument. Then the young Vermonter got upon his feet in that grand and learned assem- blage. He was himself, and all eyes were turned upon him. He was not well known in New York, and the delegates from South and West knew nothing of him as a preacher or a debater. The interest had centered in that debate, and all other questions were lost sight of in the anxiety over the outcome of that one question, Will a slaveholding bishop be advised to cease his executing the office of bishop until his slaves are disposed of? Threats had come from the South that the question must not be pressed, or else there would be a division of the Church, and all deprecated such an outcome. Every man that took the floor was very closely watched, for they were in the midst of a terrible crisis, and some were anxious to keep their con- sciences and yet not do any harm to the Church they loved. It was unfortunate for Dr. Pierce that 190 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. he had let drop the remark in his great speech that he was willing to see a division. No such remark had as yet been made by the North or East. Jesse T. Peck had watched the debate, and kept his seat until he saw this opening in the joint of the har- ness, and then he went in calmly and deliberately. He disclaimed any intention of trying to cope with the old guard of the South, who were there in heavy armor. Then he turned his attention to the Doug- lass, the Hotspur from Georgia, and called the atten- tion of the Conference to the demand that had been made that the slaveholders be let alone ; let them have peace and quiet. This cry would have been more appropriate, and would have been readily heeded, before the line had been crossed by the in- truder. When the landowner moves over the line and takes possession of soil that is held by his neighbor the neighbor cannot possibly let the in- truder alone. There can be no peace and quiet until the neighbor's soil is vacated. Slavery has worked itself into the episcopacy, and the episco- pacy proposes to travel to Bunker Hill and the lakes and the Canada line. The time to be let alone is when the episcopacy disentangles itself from the institution or vacates the free North and retires over the line. Then the orator turned his attention to the cry, " Let New England go." "Why, sir, what is New England that we should part with her with so little reluctance ? New Eng- land, the land of the Pilgrims, the land of many of our venerated fathers in Israel, the land of Brod- head and Merritt and the venerated man who sits by my side, George Pickering, and a host of wor- Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 191 thies whom we have delighted to honor as the bul- warks of Methodism in its early days of primitive purity and peril ? Let New England go ! No, sir ; we cannot part so easily with the pioneer land of the devoted and sainted Jesse Lee. It was the land of my sire. There repose the ashes of my fathers back to the earliest generation of this land. It is the birthplace of at least two of our venerable bishops who, thanks to Providence, are with us to- day ; of our honored Olin and venerated Bangs. It was the land of the sainted Fisk, and never, while our marvelous heavens are radiant with the glories of that luminary of the Church, shall the fair fame of the land that gave him birth be aspersed. Peace to his ashes and honor to his memory. How can I speak otherwise than warmly when reproach has been heaped upon a land that has furnished so many of the brightest luminaries of the Church? Sir, I have done. I thank you, and I thank the Confer- ence for the indulgence I have received. I em- barked in this noble ship when but a boy, and I cannot be persuaded to leave her. I like her form, her structure, and her machinery well. I like her passengers, her officers, and her crew. I like the sea on which she sails and the port to which she is bound. She is exposed to storms, and may some- times stagger beneath the beating tempest and reel amid the engulfing floods. At such times be not in haste to go. Other crafts may heave to alongside and invite us aboard. Look well to her ballast and build. Let us stay on board the old ship, sunshine or storm, darkness or light. I see her riding safely on the waves, gallantly bearing her precious freight 192 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. toward the haven of rest. In every gale that shall strike her as she is proudly careering amid the raging elements my voice shall be heard above the noise of wind and wave in the words of the dying Lawrence, 'Don't give up the ship.' " That remarkable speech settled several things ; one was, that he was a match for any man on that floor in forensic oratory, old or young. It settled the Hotspur of the South, and all his remarks which he made by courtesy only confirmed the justness of the verdict that he was prostrated. He admitted that his remarks were unfortunate when he said let New England go, but that remark was not needed, for everybody could see that he lay prostrate before the Harry of Monmouth. It settled the border Conferences, and made them one with New Eng- land and the North. He had to admit, and did ad- mit, that the brother from Vermont had talents and a bright future before him. This was not needed, for everybody could see it. The brother was not again put forward as a champion to make another unfortunate speech, and his victor was immediately promoted from a high school in Vermont to be president of a college in the old Baltimore Confer- ence as the successor of Dr. John P. Durbin. Flat- tery and fawning did not help the fallen champion, nor did it help his friends, and reticence would have been more appropriate to him and the occasion. He had left an unfortunate opening in his coat of mail, and the lance of his opponent had found it out, and it was fatal to him and to his side. The impartial historian pronounces that speech of that historic Conference the speech. Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 193 His call to Dickinson College was hearty and unanimous, and he made arrangements immedi- ately to enter upon his duties. He went there while the grand men who had been there were re- membered and spoken of by everybody. Besides John P. Durbin, who had gone into the presidency to fill out the term of the lamented Robert Emory, whose widow would walk through the campus every few days in deep mourning, W. H. Allen had just been called to Girard. He was the Shakespearean of the faculty. Caldwell had died universally la- mented. John McClintock had resigned as pro- fessor to take the editorship of the Quarterly Review. While he was in Dickinson he was arraigned before the court for an alleged effort to assist runaway slaves in escaping from their masters. There was a lively chase after Negroes through the village of Carlisle ; they were trying to capture slaves, and there was a big rush after the slave catchers. I think the fugitives escaped, and it happened that McClintock and a friend were passing down the street at the time and were in the rushing crowd. It was alleged by witnesses on the trial that Pro- fessor McClintock urged on the rioters and encour- aged them. One witness swore positively that he heard McClintock tell them to hurry up. When asked to repeat the exact words of the professor he said the words were, " Go it you'ns." Then there was a doubt whether the witness was telling the truth, for it was claimed that a scholar like McClin- tock would never, and did never, use such an expres- sion. At any rate, after a long and tedious trial in the old Carlisle courthouse, the jury cleared the pro- 13 194 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. fessor and got for it a severe castigation from the judge. The new president entered upon his duties with the old professor of mathematics, Sudler, and James W. Marshall, a perfect master of Greek and Latin; that eloquent and popular preacher, O. H. Tiffany, was instructor. The president wore the title of D.D., thus early in his career. He was frequently invited to other towns and cities to preach and dedi- cate churches. He came to Wilkesbarre in the autumn of 1849 to dedicate the new brick church on Franklin Street. After the dedication I was permitted to have a visit with him at the home of Ziba Bennett, where I became acquainted with Mrs. Bennett, whose maiden name was Slocum, a niece of the girl who was carried off by the Indians. Dr. Peck took me to Thomas Myer's bookstore in Kingston, and selected several books for me to read and paid for them himself. There was Xenophon's Anabasis, Sallust's books, Caesar's commentaries, and some others; he gave me orders to read them and then come to Carlisle. I obeyed orders and went, and taught school in Petersburg and Dills- burg, and kept along with the class ; under the in- struction of my uncle and the advice and help of my aunt I found life at college as agreeable as the average students find. My class was engaged in a rebellion that came near wrecking the ancient insti- tution. Yet there was no malice or deliberate in- tention to do harm at first, for I was inside and knew all about it. It started in this wise. Some man who belonged to the Roman Catholic Church had died, and he was to be buried with the rites of that Church. Several of my class wanted Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D 195 very much to witness the ceremony, but it was to occur that morning right at the time when our class had a regular recitation ; as we lay on the grass under the old trees, the class appointed me a committee to see the president to get the class ex- cused. I performed my mission promptly and has- tily, and returned to the class with a mild negative reply from Dr. Peck. Some of the boys seemed to be very much afflicted because they must be de- prived of the luxury of seeing a dead man buried. I was looking over my books for an examination. I had been absent teaching and could not meet with the class that morning, Sherlock being in the same condition. The bell rang for recitation, and Pierce, who was not on the grass with us, went in to recite ; one waited for the other to start but nobody started, so there was only one in the room to recite. The professor marked the whole class absent, excepting Ralph Pierce, Sherlock and myself. We were not expected, so at the faculty meeting were not included among those in rebellion. Then the trouble commenced, the faculty trying hard to save the honor of the college and also the class. The junior class met and resolved to go if the seniors were expelled. The students did not apologize, and the faculty stood together bravely. That night everything was excitement. In the morning when we went into the chapel we found the pulpit filled with cord wood, the hay not cured piled into the altar, the old Bible was gone, and a stuffed man surmounted the lightning rod. The president came into the chapel looking dis- couraged, carried a Bible in his hand, and, standing 196 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. in the altar on the hay, read a chapter, kneeled on the hay and prayed. He then made some remarks to the students about the peril of our beloved college and dismissed us, and we went out to see what would happen next. The town papers had some sneering reference to the " speck of war" in the in- stitution, and a report got out that a great amount of powder would be exploded in the basement of East College. Old Dr. Shearer came up from Dillsburg and told Dr. Peck to stand up for order and discipline. That he would do anyhow. Some asked him what they would do if the two classes went home. He replied, " We will reign over desolation." That remark got out among the stu- dents, and though they were surprised at it they tried to be funny and called it a big bluff. One night after the class had been informed that they could feel at liberty to leave and go home, Dr. Peck called me into his study and requested me to re- main until quite late, or until everybody had gone to sleep. He then retired, ordering me to let no- body in unless there was business of the greatest importance. I sat in the study for an hour or so and everything seemed to be quiet ; then a signal knock was heard at the door that opened into the hall, and I spoke out, "Who is there? " and in the answer I recognized the voice of Charlie Lore. I asked him what was wanted, and he replied that he wished to see Dr. Peck. I told him that I had strict orders to let him sleep and admit no one ex- cept on very important business. Then he replied that it would decide the fate of the class. I told him I supposed their fate was already decided, but Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 197 I opened the door and went and awakened the president. He came out hastily and spoke to Lore, and then Lore put into his hands a paper which he had drawn up and he wished to know if the faculty would recall the suspension if they would sign it. The doctor read it over hastily and replied that he had no doubt that all who signed would be taken back into good standing. Lore went away and we all breathed easier. All but one or two signed the paper and were restored. The faculty met and in- dorsed the arrangement, the old Bible was hunted up, the hay and wood were cleared out of the chapel, the effigy was called down from the lightning rod, and the mermaid went up to her accustomed elevation on West College and then the work went on as usual. The class graduated and took posi- tions of honor. Two have been in the Congress of the United States, six went into the ministry and achieved distinction. They were a grand company of young men. Andrew Smively was the youngest one in the class and the best speaker. He has lived to become a prominent minister in the Prot- estant Episcopal Church and an author of books. Thomas Chattle has been in the Legislature of New Jersey. Charles B. Lore has been two terms in Congress from Delaware. Charles Albright was congressman at large from Pennsylvania. Thomas Sherlock was a Methodist preacher, and was sta- tioned in Carlisle when the war was going on, and was there when Lee perforated East College with cannon shot. Ulysses Hobbes became a prominent lawyer in Maryland, his native State, and made a fortune. 198 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. Our diplomas were signed by Jesse T. Peck, Thomas Sudler, James W. Marshall, Otis H. Tif- fany, Hermon M. Johnson, and Erastus Wentworth. Every one of these men had a bright career. Sud- ler was old and died in Carlisle. Johnson became president of the college and remained so until his death. Wentworth went as missionary to China and learned the language, and after twenty years returned and was elected by the General Confer- ence as Editor of the Ladies Repository. Marshall was assistant postmaster-general under John A. J. Creswell, who was in the President's cabinet. Tif- fany was one of the finest pulpit orators of the whole country, and held his place until he died quite aged. In 1852 Dr. Peck resigned and gave place to Dr. Collins, and took the first church in Washington (Foundry) as pastor. He went from Washing- ton to Xew York, and after several years there — acting as tract secretary two years — he came to the Wyoming Conference, holding its session in Waverly, N. Y. This was the first Conference that I ever attended as an insider. The preaching on Sunday was under a large tent on the public green. He preached in the afternoon one of the greatest ser- mons of his life on " The harvest truly is great," etc. He went to California while the war was in progress and took his place on charges. He was one term in Sacramento, and while there a flood came and filled the parlor with water and mud, and those of his parishioners who came to the parson- age on official business, or any other business, were taken into the chamber windows out of boats and Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 199 skiffs of various kinds. He went to the Pacific coast on account of his wife's poor health, and in that trip was a success, I think. He represented that Conference in the General Conference, and served as presiding elder. He finally came to his old field and joined the Troy Conference, and served the Hudson Avenue Church in Albany a legal term. He was a visitor at a session of the Central New York Conference, and by invitation was trans- ferred to that Conference. He is given credit for founding the Syracuse University, and his biog- rapher does not hesitate to say that there would not have been a Syracuse University if it had not been for the energetic efforts of Dr. Peck. He was elected the first chancellor of that splendid institu- tion and served efficiently for his term. During his whole life he maintained the strictest decorum. He never perpetrated a joke in the pul- pit. He enjoyed a good joke as well as any man could, but he never thought that the pulpit was the place for them. I can truthfully say that for all the five brothers. " No room for mirth or trifling here." This was the motto when preach- ing. Yet he was popular and powerful. I have heard him when he would pour out an almost irre- sistible tide of truth, when his right hand would be thrust out in front of him with the palm down and the fingers just a little bent, with a quick up and down vibration that would emphasize his mighty words, seeming to be in a hurry to scatter the pre- cious seed faster than he could from his lips. His great subject, "What must I do to be saved?" seemed to be his leading subject in speaking to 200 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. sinners and outsiders. That sermon took the form of a book that has been before the public for forty years. He once preached away down in Alabama, and it was on Sunday evening at a camp meeting. He had a good camp meeting voice. The circle was full, the tents were full, and the woods were full. Thousands of black faces, and more of white faces, were turned up to him as he took his text. A great many tumblers of oil hung over his head for lamps, and they were fixed in a wire frame, and all were lighted. He preached, and the people shouted and prayed. In the most wonderful pressure of emotion, toward the close, he gave his hand a sweep over his head and rose upon his tiptoes ; his fingers came in collision with the temporary chan- delier, and down came the oil, anointing him com- pletely ; but a suit of clothes spoiled was about the extent of the damage done. On another occasion at a camp meeting, when he had preached one of his most powerful sermons, when the time came to sing and all were thinking of the sermon and the wonderful effect of it, a brother in the stand jumped up and called out, "A horse is lost, a sorrel horse. He had a white face and a bob tail." This was related to me by Dr. B. I. Ives, and he is authority for the story. This an- nouncement was all right, except it came at the wrong time. It should have been postponed or omitted. Indeed, there is a great and crying neces- sity for some things to be omitted in this poor world, and this announcement was one of them. The announcement by a presiding elder on one Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 201 camp ground that " A large black woman's shawl has been lost on this ground," created a little ripple of merriment ; but the elder soon explained that the adjective of color referred to the shawl and not to the woman. Dr. Peck wrote more than the average man dur- ing his active life. I remember his commencing a Mental Philosophy, and was in the process of writing it when I called to see him one morning in his study at Dickinson. He wrote or finished a sentence while I was in and said, "I have just now with one dash of my pen settled the whole question of evidence and conviction. " Then he read it over to me, and I thought it was splendid. I afterward looked for the book, but it never made its appearance. I think he abandoned the enterprise, for not very long after this the True Woman came out, and not long after that the Central Idea of Christianity came before the public. He had an unresting spirit. His body was seldom at rest and his mind was always working on something. On one of his trips out to preach he was the guest of a Mr. Hurst, and in conversation with a little boy, John Hurst, as to his schooling, proposed to him to come to Dickin- son. John told him he could not think of that ; he had not the education to start him in a college course, and no money to pursue it if he had. Dr. Peck told him to come to Dickinson and they would have a nice time. He went and is now a bishop, and told me this story himself. Now, since he has gone beyond the reach of praise or blame, I make the record that he was the best friend of 202 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. poor boys that I ever knew, except his brother George. The lives of both were spent in founding the schools that would help the young men in their struggles for success, and which they had such a fight to achieve without such schools. They lived and worked in the Church and in the Conferences, when there was a disposition to cry down colleges and college education even among the bishops; and the ambitious preachers, who could preach without graduating, were liable to imagine that their success was due to their paying more atten- tion to salvation than to Latin and Greek. Dr. Wentworth told of this instance. A bishop was in the cabinet hearing representations as to a young preacher whom his presiding elder wished to place in a certain station. The qualifications of the young man seemed to the bishop to be all right until the elder dropped a remark that the man was a graduate of a college. That settled it. The bishop listened no further, but immediately put his name down for a country circuit away off on the hills. That spirit Dr. Peck combated all his life. A great many people seemed to think that a boy full of salvation would lose it if he went to college. They used to tell this of one of the old-fashioned presiding elders in New York. The bishop asked him about a charge, and what kind of a man they wanted. He replied: "Two years ago we had a professor of chemistry ; last year we had a profes- sor of Greek ; now we want a professor of religion. " The question of the policy of the Church found- ing and endowing religious institutions of learning Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 203 is not so old but what some of us can remember the fight over the subjects ; and in all these con- tests of which I have read I have found my uncles on the side of the religious schools. Their whole lives show it. As late as 1834 "the friends of theo- logical seminaries were few. The Christian Advo- cate excluded the discussion. I took the unpopu- lar side and declared myself in favor of such insti- tutions. I have lived to see precisely my line of argument adopted by the General Conference/' See page 183, Life and Times of George Peck. Men brought up as they were, and converted as they were, would seem to have reasons for taking the other side, but they never did. Uncle Jesse was not averse to trying his physi- cal strength when occasion required, and yet he did not seek after the occasion. At one time a few prominent ministers and doctors of divinity were having a free-and-easy talk and visit when the discussion turned to physical strength. A doctor made a remark that the largest men were not necessarily the strongest. To illustrate his point he took hold of Uncle Jesse to show how easily he could handle him, when the giant took him up in his arms and swung him around as a mother would a child, and came near giving him a place outside through the open window, and would if the doctor had not entreated for leniency. Both men after- ward became bishops. Mr. Peck on one occasion, while a teacher, had cause to reprimand a boy, and soon after the father came into the school room and intimated to the teacher that he had come into the literary inclosure to administer unto the 204 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. said teacher a corporeal castigation, and he took an oath then and there that he would do it. Yet the teacher walked out toward the said castigator, and the said individual turned and left without firing one round. He simply postponed the casti- gation, notwithstanding his emphatic oath. This was the only thrashing Uncle Jesse ever had that there is any record of or any tradition. In the year 1864, on the deck of the steamer, he was called up before a Catholic father to be cate- chised, and then he felt his own " extreme little- ness." This is the language he used on the stage in Shakespeare Hall, Syracuse, when he was speak- ing as president of the convention which founded Syracuse University. After his return from California he called upon me in Newark Valley, and at the depot I persuaded him to step upon the scales. When I told him he weighed two hundred and ninety-five pounds he remarked that that was light, but explained it by saying that he was always a " little thin " in hot weather. He had the polish of a perfect gentleman. He was never uncouth, but always had respect for other people's feelings or embarrassments. He was a good listener. He could hear others talk as well as talk himself, and enjoyed it better. In 1872, being in the old Conference which started him out into the ministry forty years be- fore, stationed in Syracuse, where the university was located, he was elected as one of the delegates to the General Conference. His brother George was elected also in the Wyoming Conference, and Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 205 the two met again in the high court of the Church, both leaders in educational movements, and both prominent authors. When the will of that General Conference was registered he was found to be one of the elect as bishop, and the last one elected. Yet it was all done in a brotherly manner. There were several grand men whose friends were push- ing them forward for the place, but they conceded the badge of authority to him, and they waited. In a few years he was assigned to Wyoming Con- ference as president, and at the proper time came and performed his work with a brotherly spirit. He preached on the Sabbath, and at the close of the meeting I heard Vincent M. Coryell remark, "That was the greatest sermon he ever preached,'* and he had heard the great sermon in the large tent on the common in Waverly twenty-three years previous. It was apparent to all that hard work had not robbed him of his old-time fire of oratory. While acting in his capacity as bishop he went to London as a delegate from this coun- try to the world's Methodist council, or Ecumenical Conference. There he came into close conference with men from all parts of the world, and they were representative men of all the different branches of the Church of John Wesley — the Wesleyans of England, and the Primitives, the Calvinistic followers of Whitefield ; then the Methodist Episcopal of the United States, this which he represented, the largest and the most powerful of the whole number ; the Methodist Episcopal of the South ; the Methodist Protes- tants of the United States, and the Wesleyan 206 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. Methodists, who left the old Church on account of slavery ; the Free Methodists, who went out from us on account of our lack of perfect love and too extravagant dress and joining the Masons and other secret societies ; the colored Methodists, Zion and Bethel, one branch having bishops and the other not. What a grand gathering of men who had fought each other on theological fields came together there to confer and shake hands and express love and regard for each other — Swedes and Norwegians, Hindus and Chinese, Germans and Frenchmen, Welsh and Scandinavians ! The South and East and West and North came with their trophies of victory and rejoiced together. They worshiped a common Saviour, revered a common Bible, and were laboring to gain a com- mon home at last. Slavery, that had driven the North and South apart, had been extirpated, and there was no more cause for contention between them. The bishops North and South could kneel around the same sacramental board, and eat of the same bread and take of the same cup. The old side and new side Methodists were all on one side now, and could sing, " Blest be the tie that binds." Many of the contending champions on both sides in the strife of 1844 had gone to their account, and peace and love reigned. The old-fashioned love feast tickets had gone out of use, and everyone could wear a gold watch and chain if he was able and willing. Freemasons sat side by side with those who would never enter a secret lodge. When I was living in Maryland, in 1852, I was right in the midst of both parties, the " old side " Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 207 and " new side," and learned that the old side were the regular Methodists and the new side were the Protestant Methodists. This division made two parties in the same families. I had in my school children who could hardly tell the difference be- tween the Churches, yet they knew that there were two kinds of Methodists. I heard both kinds preach, and they would exchange pulpits in some instances. I learned some things that occurred when the rupture was made. A stormy Confer- ence had held a session in Baltimore, and at the close ministers on both sides of the strife, on their way home North, stopped over in Lancaster, Pa., and it was announced E. Yates Reese would preach in the courthouse. A great crowd went, and the sermon was in vindication of the new side, and showed how the laity had been oppressed by bishops and presiding elders, and it was time for the laymen to assert their rights and go into the Conferences and let their voices be heard in favor of justice against oppression, and so on. As he closed up he invited remarks. John A. Gere took the judge's desk, took out his hymn book, and deliberately read the hymn : "Jesus, great Shepherd of the sheep, To thee for help we fly; Thy little flock in safety keep, For O, the wolf is nigh ! " He comes, of hellish malice full, To scatter, tear, and slay ; He seizes every straggling soul As his own lawful prey." 208 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. Then after a short prayer he opened on the " new side/' He pictured the toils, privations, poverty, and sacrifices endured to save men from sin, and how the fathers had built up a grand Church where once was a howling wilderness. He then pictured the sneers that they had been subjected to by men who had been lifted out of the mire by their efforts; how the children that they had nourished and reared had gone out from them and were working all kinds of schemes to take as many as they could out of the fold. He also made such other state- ments as he alone knew how to make, and he knew what he was saying. The audience was wrought up to the highest pitch of excitement. All at once Thaddeus Stevens jumped to his feet. He was in- side the railing, and before the sermon was closed broke out in expressions which bordered on pro- fanity — " Give it to them, give it to them." And kept up his applause in such expressions, swinging his hat : " Hurrah for the old Methodist Church ! Pile it on them, they deserve it. Three cheers for the old Church ! " A relative of Bishop Bowman told me this story, and I have no doubt the bishop knows all about it. It is a pleasant thought to me that all the branches of the great Methodist family can now shake hands and be friends. The world is our parish ; put up thy sword if it is drawn to slay members of the Church of God. Bishop Peck went to the Continent and visited Denmark, had an interview with the king, and then hastened home to pursue his work. I have in my library a volume entitled, Sketches Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 209 of New England Divines. The author introduces us to a remarkable family of ministers named Ma- ther. They were pioneers, and lived and preached in the olden times. There were only four of them, so they cannot compete with the five brothers of whom we are writing. The Mathers are introduced by a verse of poetry, as follows : " Under this stone lies R. Mather, Who has a son greater than his father, And eke a grandson greater than either." So we conclude that these were a father and son and grandson, and all ministers. Richard was the first Mather and Increase was the second. He was named Increase because he was the sixth son of Richard, and they were glad of the increase in a family already fair in size. The colonies were in- creasing in numbers and wealth. The family lived in Dorchester. The next minister was Cotton Mather, who was a grandson of Richard and a son of In- crease. Then the other was Eleazer, who was a brother of Increase. So there were two divines that were brothers, and it speaks of two other brothers who were divines. Increase Mather had five brothers, but only three of them entered the ministry. Four brothers, and only two of them mentioned by name. Cotton Mather, son of In- crease, is rendered immortal by his deeds, sermons, and writings. He is reported as a good man. "The three hundred and eighty books of which he was author have perished along the passage. He tried to float them on a craft of witchlore, but they have gone down so deep that experienced 14 210 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. divers would be required to bring them up to the surface." Cotton Mather has by his talents and energy made the family immortal, and yet such immortal- ity is not desirable because of its connection with the hanging of witches. Several girls charged with witchcraft were executed mainly by his influence. I once heard a popular preacher try to defend the hanging of witches, and one reason which he put forward among others was that one girl came into a public assembly naked, and the conclusion of this divine was that such exhibitions should re- ceive the extreme penalty of the law. The Sav- iour's advice would be to clothe such ones instead of hanging them. The sons of Luther Peck were never influential in the hanging of anybody, witches or criminals. Three of them saw a dog hung, but were not needed to help it along. As to the books that they have published, though not quite as numerous as Cotton Mather's, at present, there is no need of diving bells to find them. But the name Cotton and the name Mather were both great names in the Church of New England, so he must have been a great man ; at any rate the biographer finds reason to place some of the Mathers on the scroll of fame. It is claimed that Cotton's childhood and youth were not remark- able. He ate, drank, and frolicked, rejoiced and wept, hoped and feared, like other lads of his time. A man in miniature, and he became great when he grew up. The biographer speaks of his peculiar- ities. He once prayed the Lord to kill him rather than leave him to folly. A few moments after Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 211 praying he was taken very ill, and then he feared that his prayer was going to be answered, but man- aged to get over the disease which was only slight. The historian says: "One idea, and small at that, was sufficient to send a tremor through his soul and bring to the surface his entire wealth of emotion and energy. This quality of mind urged him on to the extremes of vanity and folly/' True there is a text of Scripture that says, " Great men are not always wise ; " still it will be difficult to make the world believe that any man should be called great who is constantly urged on to the ex- tremes of vanity and folly. No one ever said this about any one of the five brothers. The historian fur- ther says, " He had very little real common sense." If that could have been said of any one of my four uncles this story would never have been w r ritten. Again we read, "Whatever common sense he in- herited was pretty thoroughly shaken out of him in the college curriculum. " My uncles did not have any curriculum, so they escaped that kind of shaking. This biographer thinks that a schooling on a farm would have been the thing for Mather, but he never enjoyed a training of manual labor, and the want of it marred the beauty of his whole life. That was bad, but it cannot be helped now. This is the Mather among all the divines in the family who was the grandson greater than his fa- ther or grandfather. It would be hard to tell what place the grandfather and father would deserve if the one especially great had been left without common sense and constantly running into folly, and his book too deep in the ocean of oblivion to 212 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. be found by the help of a diving machine. There would not be much left for them to immortalize upon. But Cotton Mather had some knowledge of several languages. He had " A party colored dress of patched and pybald languages, 'Twas English cut on Greek and Latin Like fustian heretofore on satin." I begin to wonder as I read why the name of Mather ever appeared in the list of renowned men. The names of Jesse Lee, Elijah Hedding, George Pickering, and Stephen Olin are not out of place on a historic roll. They have all been introduced in these notes, but as to the Mathers, a quiet slumber in oblivion would have been preferable to the pic- tures in that book. I should fear, if I were the author, that so many Mathers would load down the craft and carry my sketches down where the six hundred volumes have gone, down below the diver's ken. Maybe these lives just mentioned will keep the volume floating, yet they have a heavy burden to carry. No wonder the author states that these facts are " not especially en- couraging to the amateur authors of the hour, who hope to transmit their lucubrations to future pos- terity." It seems proper now to give a slight sketch of the historical book written by Dr. Jesse T. Peck. It is a great book and entitled, History of the Great Republic. The writer has given his best powers to this work, and after earnest research and unwearied examination he has brought out the book of his life. He attributes to divine Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 213 providence the whole triumphant march of the country from its discovery to the present day, and shows the fact by the details of history. The idea expressed in the immortal Declaration, " with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence we pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor/* The same idea is expressed in the national hymn, "Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto, ' In God is our trust.' " The same idea is expressed on the national coin, " In God we trust. " The book teaches this and nothing more — the nation is a Christian nation. I have been startled to find some very important items of history that I have not read anywhere else, or if I have I have forgotten them. I had not re- garded George Washington as such a tremendous fighter as Joe Hooker, or Philip Sheridan, or Stone- wall Jackson, but supposed him to be a wise and cautious general, not a fire eater, but a conservative fighter and a wise ruler. But on page 223 occurs the description of his march on Trenton that changed my estimation of the father of my coun- try. The British commander had come to the conclusion that his several victories had settled the rebellion, and that one more little brush after Christmas would wind up the whole business. But the American commander called Cadwalader, Green, Sullivan, and Stark into counsel, and they decided to cross the river that night, Christmas night. They marched toward Trenton where the Hessians were resting ; had trouble with the float- 214 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. ing ice, and took all night to cross ; but at four in the morning, in a violent snowstorm, while the enemy were sleeping off their Christmas dinner, they awakened the Hessians and told them they were there thus early on purpose for a fight and did not propose to wait until the weather mode- rated ; and they did not wait. " They were com- pletely surprised," the commander fell mortally wounded. The light horsemen hastily mounted and escaped to Bordentown. Washington, after this lively breakfast spell, recrossed the river with a thousand prisoners and six cannon, leaving his proud enemy to wonder how a dying antagonist could strike a blow so sudden and decisive. This turned the tide in favor of America, and influenced Cornwallis not to take his contemplated vacation home; otherwise the great British general might have been absent when the army surrendered to Washington. The whole thing was providential, and whether Cornwallis was glad or sorry, his sword was surrendered, and we have a free country. I am delighted that I am no longer ignorant of the Christmas surprise party which Washington so successfully managed on that stormy night, and I am delighted to learn that there was no postpone- ment on account of the inclemency of the weather or the roughness of the river. This story is prob- ably in all the histories, but I confess I had forgot- ten it. The volume brings together the great men of Church and State. Roger Williams and John Jay are engraved on the same page with John Quincy Adams and Patrick Henry. Franklin and Webster Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D, 215 and Clay and Francis Asbury are side by side. Lincoln and Simpson and Wayland are shoulder to shoulder with the great men of the nation and the Church. In dedicating this great historic work he kindly remembers Rev. Reuben Reynolds, who taught him the alphabet, and his sister, Elizabeth, who gave him all the instruction in the art of speak- ing he ever received ; D. D. Whedon, his earliest and best classical teacher; Henry Halstead, who preached the sermon on the day of his conver- sion ; his excellent brother, George Peck, who ten- derly bore him to school in his childhood, and his faithful wife, to whose energetic promptings and constant earnest encouragement he must refer all his important literary enterprises. These are the words of a man whose heart was overflowing with gratitude for what had been done for him. Thank- fulness was a part of his nature, and it never grew weaker as he grew in popularity. Too many in this poor world of ours forget, in their floods of prosperity, the humble people who helped them in the days gone by when they were weak and less popular. This American history is not intended to start a new theory of government, but to elaborate and codify an old one, as old as government itself. Of course average men, not professing Christians, can- not see very clearly the hand of God in a govern- ment by the people. They go to the polls and vote, and their votes elect the President, and they can- not understand what divine providence has had to do with it. An assassin shoots the President, and 216 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. the government undergoes a change, and the people seem to fear that the supreme God has not done all he could to keep our President in his position, else he would have paralyzed the hand of the as- sassin. It is all true that we trust in the great Ruler for our national existence and national life, yet there is all through it human actions and de- cisions. The supreme Ruler does not elect our rulers. Nor does he decide our law cases, nor plant our corn, nor husk it, nor shell it, nor grind it, nor cook it The work is human work, and still a Providence is over us. This history shows how. A Kentuckian a few years ago was discussing the question of who should be the next President. The other man was a believer in the near ap- proach of the final termination of all sublunary affairs. The discussion waxed warm, the man from the South stoutly maintaining his side until the millenarian wound up on him in a short way, saying, " I tell you, my friend, you are going to be defeated ; Christ is coming to take the reins of government before the next inauguration. " The Southerner replied right promptly, " I will bet one hundred dollars he cannot carry Kentucky.' ' The one had taken the extreme religious view of it, and the other had taken the extreme human view. The Lord's authority does not depend upon the votes of men, and men's votes are not regu- lated by any strange compulsion from heaven. We are human and must do the best we can, and when we appeal to the protection of divine providence we do not expect that he will smite our opponents with paralysis and let us lie upon our beds on elec- Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 217 tion day. We must work and trust in the Lord ; as Lincoln once said, " Let us renew our trust in God and go forward without fear and with manly hearts." That kind of work will bring the millen- nium. Such a millennium will carry all the States, North and South, East and West. In this book is found the logic of .history, the history of four hundred years. That the country has a providential government is admitted by all right- thinking students of history. Bishop Simpson has frequently given out the same sentiment, but it was left to the fifth son of Luther Peck to place the proofs of the fact before the public so that everybody can see them. Every young man should read the book, and he will come to the conclusion that the true citizen of this republic is loyal to the Being who rules over all, and if the infidel feels lonesome there is nothing to hinder him from leav- ing. The decalogue is the underlying foundation of all our national and State laws. Washington ac- complished a valuable work, not because he prayed, but because he fought and prayed. It is our duty to punish the assassin and paralyze his arm, for if we leave it for the Lord to do we will find it not done. A few years ago the Editor of the New York World, on a Christmas Day, proclaimed this idea : " This nation is a miracle, a greater miracle than all the miracles that Christ was said to have per- formed when he was upon earth. A potential nationality like ours is not an accident, but a Christian miracle, and so great, so powerful, so rich that no one need hesitate to assist in the coronation of the Christ on this great anniversary." 218 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. The same idea pervades the History of the Great Republic. The logic of the whole volume is that the unbeliever, the blasphemer, and the criminal are no help to the country's prosperity, but a hindrance. It was Dr. Elon Foster that had the thoughts which pervade the book, and he urged and pressed Dr. Peck to the task of writing it, and at his earnest entreaty the volume was written. All through the book an unseen Providence is brought to the front. Roger Williams founded u Providence," and so named it because the whole movement was provi- dential. The battles and victories of the last war are recited as providential from Fort Sumter to Appomattox. As we read over and through the book from preface to finis we breathe easier and feel mightier as we exclaim, " The Lord reigns." But I have prolonged this chapter to about the proper limit, and yet I could write a whole volume on the life and works of this noble-hearted man. I leave him to the judgment of the reviewers, his- tory, and his great Judge above. I look over the transactions of his later days and I admire them. His subscription of twenty-five thousand dollars to Syracuse University before it had been thought probable that it would come into existence, then the failure of the insurance company, the doubling of that noble subscription, then the payment of the amount in full, and, after getting a receipt therefor, kneeling down with his little company and thank- ing God that he had lived to see the university a grand success and to see his subscription of half a hundred thousand paid. I exclaim, " Well done ! " and it does in no way detract from my joy to think Bishop Jesse T. Peck, D.D. 219 that possibly in some way in the future I might have become a sharer in that fifty thousand. It will do more good in the long years to come than I could do with it even if I could have it all. He had a son and daughter, both adopted, and they were dear to his heart. Melissa went to India as a mis- sionary. She died there and was buried on the banks of the Ganges. Now he rests, " having folded his hands in a last long truce of toil." I gaze upon the picture of that noble face and feel it a great honor to have the privilege of recording some facts in the life of the noble man. I have heard him sing, " O, happy day that fixed my choice On Thee, my Saviour and my God," when it seemed to me there was a good deal more than sounding the notes and speaking the words. He was the living embodiment of poetry itself. His life was the shortest of any of the five brothers, yet he passed his threescore and ten years, and carved out an immortality as great as those who lived longer. His work and words will live along down the ages as long as men and women shall admire noble deeds and eloquent words. A patriot, a Christian, a scholar, a liberal giver, and a loving husband and friend, the last one of the youthful drum corps has gone to sleep, and the notes of the last tattoo have died away amid the dews of Jor- dan^ banks. " Can that man be dead whose spirit- ual influence is upon his race? He lives in glory, and his speaking dust has more of life than half its breathing molds." Appendix A. 221 APPENDIX A. Glances into the Past. The Leader yesterday promised to present to its readers a part of the paper read by Rev. J. K. Peck before the Methodist Preachers' meeting on Mon- day morning of this week. The first part is pre- sented to-day, with the certainty that it will be scanned with great interest, not only by older resi- dents, but by younger ones as well. The paper is called A Retrospect. I was born sixty-five years ago on a blustering December night among the snowy hills of Chenango County, N. Y. It was the unauspicious Friday, the most unlucky day of all the seven. The house seemed large to me, yet it was really a small house, two rooms besides the buttery. The main room was my world, my empire. There I built houses out of sticks and arranged ranks of soldiers, and heard the clock tick and saw the great pendulum swing, and there the unwearied wheel spun its end- less threads as the hours went on. There was my trundle-bed. A shop was far off, but only across the street. The fire blazed and smoked on the hearth. The horses came to the shop to have their turn in repairs. Men came and went. Women came and went. One man came on horseback and remained 222 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. overnight. I remember him some, but I remember his horse more. That horse was a wonder to me. It would follow its master without the aid of bridle, strap, or rope. My mother called the man " Brother Ayl worth." To-day I read in the old Conference Minutes of Oneida Conference for 1829, " Cayuga District, John Dempster, presiding elder ; Cortland, James P. Ayl worth." In the same district stands the name of William Rounds as a junior preacher. Zacha- riah Paddock was stationed in the classic village of Cazenovia, and George Peck was in the sweet valley by the lake in a village called Ithaca. Morgan Sherman and Benjamin Ellis w r ere stationed in Wy- oming and Wilkesbarre. That meant that they had free range over Luzerne, Wyoming, and Sus- quehanna Counties. Lyman Speary was at Sharon, Horace Agard was presiding elder on this the Susquehanna District. Binghamton, Owego, and Ithaca w r ere in this district. James P. Aylworth had swept around with his educated horse from Cort- land to Brackle, where the father and I lived, and we entertained him. He was twenty-two miles from Cortland, yet on his charge. I lived then two miles and a half from the nearest place, that was the Hook; I went to that village which was composed of vast numbers of houses, which consisted, as I afterward learned, of two stores, one tavern, and four other buildings. The whole Methodist Epis- copal Church then was half as old as it is now, but not half as strong, nor half as large, nor half as rich, nor half as influential. The sixty-five years from Barbara Heck and Philip Embury and John Street, Appendix A. 223 down to the time I buckled on the armor at five years of age, were not marked with as much prog- ress as the same number of years have been since. When I was seven years old I went to school to Ahira Johnson. In 1836 I went to Cazenovia on horseback, and took some matters of clothing to my oldest brother, who was then in Cazenovia Seminary at school. After weary hours of looking and longing and rid- ing I rode into the city. A saucy boy, as I sup- posed, came out through a gate and opened his mouth at me. I was afflicted, but I ventured to ask for the residence of Mr. Peck. This boy took me to the right house. He was a son of Mr. Peck, and I was a distant cousin of his, and my brother was in the school, and the boy's father was the school superintendent. In the seminary in my brother's room I saw W. H. Olin, then a boy of seventeen. He and my brother were roommates. The visit was quite a pleasant one to me, and I rather regretted leaving for home. Time went on, and my school days were interrupted by months of hard work. In 1842 I came into this valley with a pair of sore feet and no money. I worked hard and man- aged to get my board and some matters of cloth- ing. I attended the session of the Conference in Wilkesbarre in August, 1843. I heard Stephen Olin preach in the old church on the square near where the courthouse now stands ; I sat in the gallery. His text was, " Let not your heart be troubled : ye believe in God," etc. The sermon had pathos and power in it. The ordination of 224 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. deacons followed. In the class were men whose names became familiar in after years, such as Ephraim Hoag, George H. Blakeslee, Henry Browns- combe, and Reuben Nelson. The Wyoming Seminary was founded and lo- cated at this Conference, and the brick building went up. Reuben Nelson, who was a deacon and that year left without an appointment, and his name placed among the superannuated preachers, was called to be principal. This was the year when the world was to wind up its affairs and retire. Still, the Oneida Conference went on and built the seminary. Kingston was the center of the teach- ing that the last days had come. I heard Dayton F. Reed in the old Kingston church prove by fig- ures on the blackboard that the year 1843 was to close up all earthly matters. He preached morn- ing and evening in the absence of the regular pas- tor, J. B. Benham. Time went on, and the world went on. The fig- ures that showed us the end will have hard work to prove to us that they are always truthful. These forty-six years have shown marvelous events on the world's wide stage. The great debate in the Gen- eral Conference over the slaves of Bishop James O. Andrew rocked the continent from center to "cir- cumference. The Methodist Church was compara- tively young, but it was old enough to attack a giant wrong, though the giant threatened it with utter annihilation. The Southern delegates said : " You go on with this agitation, and our pulpits will be vacated. Our churches will be turned into market places, and we will be standing all the day Appendix A. 225 idle, and why? ' Because no man hath hired us/ " People shuddered and stared, vast crowds thronged the galleries where the Conference held its sessions. There were no millionaires in that General Confer- ence, but a company of preachers who had con- sciences — abundance of conscience, but very little cash. The resolution passed that Bishop Andrew should cease to exercise the office of bishop until his slaves were disposed of. The war then com- menced in earnest and went on. The old Church marched on, and the South part set up for itself. The South prosecuted the North in the courts and obtained a good share of the Book Concern. The giants of that day have laid off their armor and contend no more. Alfred Griffith, Charles Elliott, John A Collins, Henry B. Bascom, George Peck and his then youthful brother Jesse T. Peck, Leonidas L. Hamline and the elder and younger Pierce from the far South, and Joshua Soule are all gone to their account. I was working and mending wagons in Forty Fort when the seminary bell would sound two miles away. I was then twenty, with very little money, but much of ambition ; not much of " pol- ished manners and fine sense," but some oratory. I had spoken some in class without notes. I went in with all my might to make up for lost time. I mastered vulgar fractions and English grammar and then struck Latin and Greek. But my oratory was never satisfactory to myself, nor to Mr. Nelson, and was less so to the audience ; still, I determined to do something. I tried hard to give expression to Milton's " Paradise Lost " and Byron's " Battle 15 226 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. of Waterloo/' and " Cicero against Verres." I wrote a composition, and predicted that in a few years the locomotive would be whistling through our streets, and the professor crossed that part out as too far off, even for a student's composition. I think now that I came nearer the truth than he did. Time went on, and I taught schools and boarded around ; Bostwick Haw T ley gave me license to exhort. I went to Carlisle and entered Dickin- son College. After two years there I took my diploma among the four-years students. Then I taught a select school in the State of Maryland for one year, then came to Wilkesbarre on a visit, and that year, 1853, joined the Wyoming Conference. The ministers of the Baltimore Conference ad- vised me to stay down there and join them. They even said I would starve to death if I came up here. They were faring sumptuously every day. The school officers offered to raise my wages to five hundred dollars a year if I would stay there and teach. But I came here and took my place in the ranks of the marching itinerants. The highest salary here was Wilkesbarre, five hundred dollars, and that required the help from Plainsville to pull it through. The missionary col- lection in the whole Conference was eighteen hun- dred dollars. Wilkesbarre paid one hundred and sixty dollars of that, Kingston eighty-six dollars. The highest claim then paid a superannuated preacher was fifty-six dollars and fifteen cents. We worked on for eight years and made some progress. At the Conference held in Owego in 1861 news came that the flag was under a hot rebel fire at Appendix A. 227 Fort Sumter, and war meetings were held through the town. Bishop Simpson was cool but anxious. Dr. Durbin's face wore an unusually sad look. I was appointed to preach the missionary sermon the coming year. We took our appointments and left, hardly venturing to think what a year might bring forth. I wrote my sermon out, and at the next session, which was in the old Franklin Street Church, Wilkesbarre, read it with what power and force I could command, and I was complimented for it with a request of the Conference for its pub- lication. It was published in several papers. One was the Montrose Republican, I was called upon to repeat it in several circuits the next year. I read it in Susquehanna and Carbondale and some other places. I was treasurer of the Mission- ary Society that year, and also statistical secretary for the whole Conference, and edited the detailed missionary report. While we were in session here the news came of the defeat of Grant at Pittsburg Landing, and the times were sadly out of joint. And yet the loyal ministers and the loyal people prayed a good deal and kept their powder dry. The country's treasury was empty, the soldier was poorly clad and poorly paid, the rebels and others were sneering and jeering and yelling. Con- gress passed a law taxing luxuries, and for every gallon of liquor sold one dollar must go into Uncle Sam's treasury, and Abraham Lincoln signed the bill. Theaters, tobacco, lager beer, cigars, snuff, all sent along their contributions to the fund to sup- 228 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. port the army and save the country, and dollars poured into Uncle Sam's treasury faster than three men could count. And we were glad the treasury was filled, the country was saved, and the soldiers paid. Suppose some of our wise politicians had rushed to Washington and said to Uncle Abe : " Why, Mr. President, are you going to take money from the devil, and for it allow him to raise the devil? You become a partner in the crime of liquor-selling." Uncle Abe would reply, " I would save the Union." A man that would denounce the President and Congress for saving the Union in that way is not fit to breathe the atmosphere of the Union. You can call it high tax or low tax or high license, you will not spit on the money Uncle Sam gives you because he got some of it out of tax on intoxicating liquors. If you do not want it let it alone and hold your tongue. If you do not want your country saved in that way get out of it and go where you please. The Wyoming Conference stood by its country in its terrible struggle with treason. Our leading men were out- spoken and not mealy-mouthed. We believe in freedom for the black man and a party behind it to enforce it. Our missionary collections increased grandly every year during the war, and have kept on ever since increasing. The saddest Conference we ever had was at Carbondale, in 1865. When we assem- bled all were jubilant, Lee had surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, but in the midst of our joy word came that the President was shot. The flag trailed at half-mast, crowds came to the church in tears. Appendix A. 229 The likeness of Abraham Lincoln stood before the pulpit folded in the darkest drapery. The house was full and silence reigned. Benjamin Ellis walked slowly up before the altar and gazed into the benevolent face of the martyred leader and great emancipator, and wept like a child. The Conference went on, but everything was under a cloud. At the close I was appointed presiding elder. I was brought into the cabinet with George P. Porter, Reuben Nelson, H. Brownscombe, Zach- ariah Paddock, and George Peck. I was four years in the eldership, and then left it for the ranks. We had glorious camp meetings and glorious quarterly meetings and glorious revivals while I was on the district. At the Conference in 1865 we reported six thousand dollars missionary money. During the twenty-five years since then we have traveled up to double and triple, until this year we record twenty thousand dollars. The doxology is very much in order now. Personally I have tried hard to do my share, and I have done some work out- side of the regular pastor\s duties. I once went onto a brother's charge to defend the doctrine of the Holy Trinity against an Arian minister who was spoiling to pulverize some Methodist divine. I went into the neighborhood and found him top- loftical, booted, and spurred. He would stick the hair up on top of his head and look daggers. He even thought I wanted to back out, and intimated as much. But I had no inclination to back out. I even agreed to try the gauge of battle in his nice new church. We had none in the neighborhood. The time came, and the church was lighted up and 230 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. was soon filled with eager persons to witness the fray. I made the first speech, and when I sat down he commenced to pulverize me. After three evenings of contention in high debate he was con- fident that somebody was pulverized, and he was half afraid it was himself, and I was sure it was not I. The audience decided that he had been squelched and annihilated. I left him in his own pulpit with his hair hanging down over his eyes, an utterly discouraged man. He never undertook again to annihilate the Methodist Church. Our society has been growing right there ever since, and we have two nice churches and a parsonage, while there is not now left a grease spot of the former flourishing Christian society. The house is still there, and that is all. This debate should have been undertaken by men other than myself. I was just ordained elder and was in the midst of my studies. The whole country through that part of the State of New York was being canvassed by A. J. Welton and his friends, and his pamphlet was being sold and given away among our mem- bers, and they claimed that Welton could not be answered. The pamphlet was an elaborate reply to one of our leading ministers on the divinity of our Saviour. The papers of the vicinity were used to throw slurs on our teaching, and right in the midst of it George P. Porter, who was stationed in Waverly, withdrew from the Church and openly announced himself as an unbeliever in the Chris- tian religion. The preachers in Binghamton and Owego, William H. Pearne and Z. Paddock and John J. Pearce, went on with their work, and the Appendix A. 231 young Methodists were a little timid in asserting their belief. I studied Welton's pamphlet, and then I studied our side. My mind was made up, and when the challenge came I accepted. One woman in my congregation was a teacher of their faith. They were jubilant. The Methodists were timid, and they even sent committees to dissuade me from undertaking a war of words with that crowd. I told them I had agreed to do it and should do it if I lived. I met them, and the result is before the world. I have a copy of the whole in printed form. George Porter soon afterward returned to the fold and was rewarded with Waverly and Owego, and did good w r ork for several years, but toward the last of his life his mind wandered some. The Conference of seven years ago was to me a sad one, and yet proved to be one of the sweetest of my whole ministry. A sad, long, chilly sickness had wasted my powers so that I was as weak as a child. The session was held in Binghamton Centenary. I managed to be present, and my haggard appear- ance drew to me such a tide of brotherly sympathy and feeling as I had never supposed was possible. Dr. Andrews's treatment and the glorious brother- hood of Methodist preachers saved my life, and I am here to-day to thank God. My book, The Seven Wonders of the New World, was then but half written, and from then I recovered slowly but com- pletely, and completed the book, and it was put upon the market, and I am content. The Epworth League adopted it in its regular course of read- ing. The agent, Dr. Eaton, told me he intro- duced it in London, and it is popular there. Our 232 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. late Conference was a grand one, and the Metho- dist Church to-day is a marvel of vitality and con- secrated wealth and sanctified talent. Party politicians and small-sized kickers do not seem to affect the grand march of this great army. The Church is great, the country potential, the flag is still there with no stars shot away, but several new stars added. Every swing of the world is up- ward, and humanity feels a mighty uplift. Tele- graphs, telephones, photographs, graphophones, phonographs, and electric motors bring the whole world together, and these have all come inside of the sixty-five years. It is a time of great thoughts and great movements and great words. Giants shake the world and stride into the sun. The wounded Galilean leads the great world upward. Brothers, I am proud to be reckoned as one of your number. We are building three churches a day, and that is a small part of the work we do. We are building a new Conference every year. There are three times as many Conferences now as there were thirty-seven years ago, and there is greater average strength in each one than there was then. The laymen have come into our coun- sels, and with their accumulated wealth lift our in- stitutions of learning and churches out of debt and found others. " God bless the Methodist Church ! " Men of God, in content possess your hearts. " Per varios casus per tot discritnina rerum tendi- nitis in Coelum." Wilkesbarre, April 28, 1890. Appendix B. 233 APPENDIX B. The following is from the Wilkesbarre Evening Leader of August, 1894, written by request of the city editor, Wesley E. Woodruff. A Great Camp Meeting. This was not in the historic past, though a great many such stand on the records, and the aged and enfeebled ones can tell of them, and memory recurs to them oft in the stilly night. But this one was only sixteen years ago, and many now living can recite some of the interesting events that then and there occurred. It was on the Wyoming camp ground. The same trees are there, grown taller and stronger. The ground is there, and many of the cottages. The preachers' stand and the plat- form are there. It was at the twilight of evening that I walked into the ground as a visitor, I had borrowed five dollars of a kind lady to pay my ex- penses. The atmosphere was salubrious and the songs melodious. My hand was clasped by friends who now slumber in the grave, and by others who still live. I was soon in a great crowd of people of all ages, mostly young, in a vast open chapel at the upper end of the ground. Everybody was prayer- ful, cheerful, and hopeful. Several other prayer meetings were going on in cottages and tents. I was only in long enough to hear the winding up. A young minister jumped upon a bench and shouted that lie wanted to read a postal card. It was from a young friend way West. He had just been converted at a camp meeting. The doxol- 234 Luther Peck and his Five SonSc ogy was sung, the bell sounded for public service, and the throngs moved toward the stand. W. H. Olin, the presiding elder, requested me to pray for the brother who was going to preach. Reuben Nelson was in the stand, and John F. Hurst, Henry Brownscombe, Chaplain McCabe were in the altar, and the preachers of the Conference filled the places in the stand. While I was praying there seemed to be a thousand others praying. The whole forest seemed to be surcharged with heavenly influences. The wings of angels seemed to fan us. The pray- ing went on for several seconds after the time for the prayer was up. There was no discord nor harshness in the sounds ; the leaves of the trees seemed hung with silver bells, every one of them. Some remained kneeling, others sat up and leaned their heads against trees, and stumps for support. Reuben Nelson wiped his eyes with that only hand, the left one. The German brother, just from the fatherland, struggled with his breath to keep from shouting. John F. Hurst arose from his kneeling posture and cast his keen eyes over the unusual scene and smiled audibly. Then music arose, led by that inimitable Chaplain McCabe, the same voice that had echoed in the gloom of Libby Prison : "We're marching to Zion, Beautiful, beautiful Zion ; We're marching upward to Zion, The beautiful city of God." The brother that was to preach looked at his text, then to his notes, but could not help singing; every- body sang, and the refrain was repeated again and Appendix B. 235 again. The presiding elder remarked that maybe the sermon would have to be omitted. The sing- ing went on with that lofty refrain, " We're march- ing to Zion." Finally there was a pause to get breath, and the orator took his text and went through his sermon. Then E. W. Caswell got upon his feet and seemed to have difficulty to stand, but managed to utter the word "Jesus" half under his breath, then he uttered the same word again and again until his voice reached the farthest men on the ground. In- quirers after a new life crowded to the front. Prayer and song were the order of the evening, and shouts came from the victors. Ten o'clock came, and the bell sounded, and nobody seemed to be ready for it. Slowly the crowds went to their night's rest, but a great many to spend the rest of the night in prayer. I went up into the min- isterial dormitory and heard the shout, "Glory!" as one of the itinerants lay upon his cot trying hard to keep from disturbing the whole ground. The camp meeting went on with pow T er, until more than a hundred prodigals came to their Fa- ther's house. Chaplain McCabe speaks of it in social circles and refers to it on the platform standing before vast throngs of people. Many will remember what he said on that Sunday night, in the new Franklin Street Church, Wilkesbarre, when the vast auditorium was crowded and there was no standing room left, April n, 1886. He said that the Wyoming people could beat any- body in the world singing, and referred to " that night on the camp ground when J. K. Peck 236 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. prayed. A dozen or more were prostrated under the power of God, and everybody was seized with a reverent spirit/* That was eight years after that camp meeting closed, and it was fresh in his memory then, and he asked us to join in singing that glorious refrain which sounded with such volume in the tented grove eight years before. Bishop Hurst says to- day that that meeting on that camp ground that evening was the climax of all the meetings of his life. APPENDIX C THIS paper was prepared and read for the Wyo- ming District Ministerial Association convened in Ashley, October, 1892. Is America Working Out Her True Destiny? The rhetorical and versatile delineator of mun- dane happenings, Thomas H. Prescott,* A.M., has this promulgation in regard to Columbus, page 799: " He regarded himself as a personage expressly predestined by Heaven to discover a new world and prepare the way for the recovery of the Holy Sepulcher and the conversion of the whole world to Christianity." On another page is the following record : " He had all along cherished the design of devoting the wealth he acquired from his discoveries to the ob- ject of rescuing the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem from the hands of the infidels." Appendix C. 237 In these brief quotations we find the true in- wardness and inspiration of the farseeing voyager. His theme, Christianity versus infidelity ; his stage, the trackless ocean ; his dramatis personce his one hundred and twenty-five marines; his audience, the potential aggregation of humanity in the parquet and the millions of spirits looking down from the upper galleries. As the curtain rises the actors are seen upon their knees chanting " Te Deums," sails are hoisted, and away they speed. Days pass. Nights pass. Months pass, when, lo and behold, a half of the whole world, an unknown continent, stretches across their path, and they take possession of it in the name of their king and queen and in the name of the Sovereign of heaven. The emblem of the Church of God was then and there planted in the virgin soil of the new and strange land ; planted there for the first time. The New World opened wide the doors for new thoughts, and in a few revolving years a man of God and a minister dares proclaim the theory that the world moves and swings in space. This was not known when our hero planted the cross in the western world. The contest between Christianity and infidelity now opened with new vigor and was waged fiercely on two continents, and now, after four swinging centuries of songs and shouts and contests and debates and crusades and revolutions, we that are permitted to open our eyes upon the pageant of the quadricentennial stop to ask the question, Is America fulfilling her^mission and working out her true destiny? Here is a ques- 238 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. tion that will bear study to find the correct answer, and in this study we should endeavor to divest our- selves of preconceived notions, and make an hercu- lean effort to get away from prejudice, and try to eliminate the least bit of educational bias, and go into the jury box to hear the evidence and give candid audience. Some people with ardent and sanguine tempera- ment will take a superficial and cursory view of the situation, and after reading a pessimistic editorial of a more pessimistic newspaper from a croaking editor, who has the chronic moral dyspepsia of a severe type, they are prepared to jump upon every- body in office, in the Church and in the State ; they exclaim with rolling eyes, " We are growing backward and downward, we are retrograding and sliding hellward, and all going to the canines with accelerated velocity ; the lawmakers are political tricksters, and the church members and ministers are a good deal like them, and every man is a selfish scoundrel, and most women are un- virtuous ; the laws are a fraud and our boasted free government is a sham." See here, my friends, let us reason together while we are on the way to the lower regions ; let us talk over the matter. The men who found this new world were seek- ing to extend Christianity and destroy infidelity, and after four hundred years how fares the con- test? Look on that cathedral with its spire pointing to heaven. Look on that silver dollar with its eagle and Appendix C, 239 "E phiribus unum" and its Goddess of Liberty, and, better and grander than all else, " In God we trust." Are we trying to enthrone infidelity and strangle Christianity p If we are, then our country is not fulfilling its destiny. But I stand here to say the reverse is true. Look at the history of four hundred years. The Holy Bible has been burned, to be sure, and the holy men have been burned, and the strife has been bloody and terrible, but infidelity has been gradually losing the combat. Christianity outrides the billows of revolution, and though once dead and buried it has a resur- rection, and as often as it has been entombed it has asserted its power to rise and its right to live. It has trailed its golden light in the wilder- ness and sailed the seas and oceans over. Since Ispaniola, sent out her missionaries, and they moved westward to find a new world, the mis- sionary spirit has been taking a firmer hold upon the masses of the people the world over. America is to-day leading the nations in evan- gelizing the teeming tribes of men. Infidelity does not flourish in American soil. The greatest men and the best men, poets, orators, statesmen, and women have been carrying the banner that floated over the Santa Maria as she plowed the waves in search of a western world. When printing was invented Christian men manipulated the first movable types, and, behold, the Bible and song books and prayer books were like flying angels over the old countries and across the western sea, and the Puritans kneeled upon the 240 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. thin soil of Plymouth Rock, and the songs of Zion take the place of the Indian war whoop, and this land of Columbus sends the bugle call onward as the star of empire takes its way. The people of the United States contribute an- nually five million five hundred thousand dollars for mission work at home and abroad, and half of this sum is spent in the Old World, where Chris- tianity had its birth and its cradle, and millions of children's voices sing: " Waft, waft, ye winds, his story, And you, ye waters, roll, Till, like a sea of glory, It spreads from pole to pole." And we are still going to the Plutonian shores. So says the dissatisfied grumbler. Are we fulfilling our destiny? I answer, We are, the pessimists to the contrary notwithstanding. The bloody bullfights do not stain American soil. The juggernaut and the funeral pyre are not al- lowed here, and Washington drew his sword in behalf of liberty and succeeded, and Columbia be- came the " land of the free and the home of the rave. The timid slave has come out of his shackles by the stroke of the pen in the hand of the immortal Lincoln, and the dark-skinned Ethiopian shouts for his long-looked-for jubilee. Polygamy is destined to go down before the marching hosts of the Church militant. Lotteries are breathing their last. The pulse of infidelity beats faintly and languidly, and Christianity in ear- Appendix C. 241 nest points with pride to her three new churches a day, or a thousand a year. Four hundred years ago Columbus found the people of this New World nude as they were born, now they are clothed in purple and fine linen, and will not the Saviour in the last great day say to us, " Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of of these, ye have done it unto me?" Twelve millions of homes now cover this broad land under the fostering care of our government. Homes were out of the question when the Santa Maria first touched these wild shores. There was no family circle and no family altar ; no mottoes, " God bless our home," hanging in the parlor, and no parlor to hang them in, and no home for God to bless, and no skillful hands to work such mot- toes, and no childish prayer at the mother's side, " Now I lay me down to sleep." Look at this country to-day with its millions of native inhabitants and its millions of foreigners who are seeking an asylum here ; coming to stay, coming by the thousands annually, coming to work and eat and drink, vote and live, pray and sing, to grow rich and make fortunes, to hold office, to own homes, to till the soil, to dig gold and silver, to mine coal and saw wood, to bore for oil and catch codfish, to lay railroad tracks and run engines, to build bridges and make watches, to spin cotton and card wool, to raise oranges and eat oysters, to make glass into a thousand shapes; and Uncle Sam is rich enough to give us all a farm. To be sure a Chinese wall confronts the immigrant from the Celestial Empire, but he manages to get 16 242 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. over it or around it and mingles with the American- born and the foreign-born. He ties up his cue and no more peddles rats for a living, but becomes a washee for cuffs and collars for the lords and ladies of the greatest and richest nation on earth. He rakes in the five-cent pieces, and as soon as he can read a line of English he traces the words on his nickel, " In God we trust." Here we are working out a great problem — the enthronement and coronation of humanity. Great States are joined hand in hand to accom- plish this object. Forty-four sovereign republics are in this vast domain and others are knocking to come in. They are pulling at the doorbell and pressing the electric button anxious for the door to open. The Empire State and the Lone Star and the Old Dominion and the Keystone are but parts of this stupendous whole, and new sovereignties are struggling to join hands in this circle of mighty States. This family is large and is growing larger. Peo- ple and realms of every tongue are crowding to our shores and spreading themselves on our vast prairies. They hear the noise of our rolling wheels and the buzzing of our millions of spindles, and they are in a hurry to be counted in. If we should hoist a banner with this motto in capital letters at Castle Garden and all other land- ing places, " This country is going to perdition with lightning speed, "every immigrant would land, and the next steamer would disgorge its full quota of immigrants, and the next would do the same. Appendix C. 243 The truth is the croakers are not believed by the people of this country nor any other country, nor do they believe themselves their own lugubrious ravings. If they did they would leave instanter, like rodents from a sinking ship. Surely this is a great country and we are a great people, and we are growing rapidly. We consume five hundred million dollars' worth of bread in one year and spend nearly as much for cotton and woolen goods, three hundred millions of dollars in meats, two hundred millions for boots and shoes, one and a half millions for sugar and molasses, ninety-six millions for public schools, twelve millions for clergymen's salaries, and more than a thousand millions for intoxicating drinks, and only a fraction of the people drink at all, but all wear clothes and shoes and eat bread. So that our average bread bill for one year for each man, woman, and child is seventeen dollars, while the average drinker pays out thirty dollars for drink and seventeen dollars for bread, and the government tax on this amount of poisonous drink keeps the treasury full, and with the aid of the tax on tobacco and cigars and cigar- ettes and the tariff on importations the government pays its army and navy, the pensions of its wounded soldiers and the widows of dead soldiers, pays for its diplomatic ministers, pays the President's salary and the salaries of congressmen, judges of the su- preme court, and members of the cabinet, and the department of the interior, and builds post offices and makes up deficiencies in that department, and pays all the clerks of all departments, and sends out seeds to the farmers, and has virtually extin- 244 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. guished a war debt of more than two thousand millions of dollars and has millions of money in the treasury at the end of every fiscal year ; and we do not pay a cent of this vast amount of money ex- cept we chew tobacco or smoke ; and one of the live questions of to-day is whether we should take off the tax from liquor and pay these enormous bills out of our own pockets. I am free to say that I am not in favor of taking it off. I would sooner double it than take it off. I am in favor of stopping the whole business, but as long as it is running in any part of the United States, tax it. Here is my platform : Tax it until it is prohibited and prohibit it as soon as possible, and we will find some other way to fill up the treasury. And you that say take off the tax now will cer- tainly be willing to suggest a remedy for an empty treasury until such time as the traffic is dead and buried. Is the nation with all this turmoil and strife and drinking working out its true destiny? It is edu- cating the children to read and write ; it is build- ing schoolhouses among the poor, and the Church is sending instructors everywhere, and all are fur- nished with a printed Bible, and when that is worn out another is given and the word of God is pos- sessed and studied and read by more people than any other book on the round earth. Infidelity cannot get a foothold here, for the courts refuse to grant those people a charter for a hall. Judge Sharswood, of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, in refusing to grant a charter for a Appendix C. 245 freeth inkers' hall, said, " Such a hall would be used to insult the people of the State whose religion was Christianity. The teaching of such a company would result in our sons becoming gamblers and our daughters becoming frequenters of unholy lo- calities/' The truth is that in this country Sunday school rooms and churches have the right of way, and parents are not afraid to allow their sons and daughters to go as often as possible, but they can- not think of their darkening the doors of a school of vice and infidelity. And if the unbelievers come into our midst and succeed in getting into a public hall to lecture, they are compelled to take the money of a Christian people with the name of the Supreme Being upon it, if they get any money for their lecture ; and they take it and are glad to get it, and they do not discount it because it is Chris- tian money. Christian songs are sung everywhere, and our own William Taylor is waving the Gospel light through and over darkest Africa, and our own Thoburn is teaching the Lord's Prayer among the Sepoys, and the cannibals of the Fiji Islands are turning their eyes toward the Star of Bethlehem, and steam cars are running from Damascus to Jerusalem and to Joppa, and half a dozen steamers laden with pro- visions at American ports have this year plowed the seas to far-off Russia, floating the Stars and Stripes and the Cross, and the thousands of starving and dying there have blessed God that there is a country where brave hearts beat and liberal souls sing and pray and give, and the whole world be- 246 Luther Peck and his Five Sons. comes a great brotherhood; and now, to-day, with our Young Men's Christian Associations and our Woman's Christian Temperance Union and Wom- an's Christian Temperance Alliance, the Christian Endeavor Societies of young people, and Epworth Leagues in addition to the churches and mission- ary societies, are we not working out our true des- tiny as a nation ? Lo, the poor Indian, is being fed and clothed and educated, and in this four-hundredth year he will join in the Columbus procession with the Bible hanging to his belt instead of a human scalp. Afric's dusky swarms march in this cavalcade, not in clanking chains, but " shouting the battle cry of freedom." O, Columbia, I am proud that I was born on thy soil ! Let no man dare assail thy honor or blast thy fair fame. To-day the Old World is placing a coronet upon thy brow and laying offerings at thy feet, and the songs of thy millions of sons and daughters are making the skies ring, the bells sound, and the full bands play, the drums beat, and cannons roar. " Thy mandates make heroes assemble When Liberty's form is in view, Thy banners make tyranny tremble When borne by the red, white, and blue." Now, fellow-workers, brothers and sisters, my task is done, poorly, it may be, but I will only say adieu. " God be with you till we meet again."